Top Senior Scams
May 06, 2021
Fraud continues to be one of the leading forms of crime in Canada. In 2020, there were 42,000 reported cases with over $100 millions of dollars in losses. Unfortunately, 90% of fraud is perpetrated by family and caregivers exploiting seniors. The current COVID-19 pandemic measures and the restrictions have significantly changed how we interact with our loved ones. Social distancing affects everyone, but our seniors are experiencing increased isolation and loneliness as friends and family are unable to visit in person.
Seniors are a target, some reasons for this vulnerability may include isolation, more secure money situation, more trusting nature, insecure and bullied into scams and impaired cognitive ability. Top Scams in Canada are online purchasing, wire fraud, romance scam, employment scam, cryptocurrency scam, income tax, advance-fee loans, shady contractors and fake invoices.
Below are some of the more common scams, they will vary slightly but the themes are always the same:
1. Imposter Government agency or business: Refuse to engage with anyone who calls or comes to the door offering services, selling anything or looking for donations is another good practice. Never give credit card, banking, or other personal information out over the phone unless your senior loved one initiates the call.
2) New best friend: Avoid isolation by staying involved with friends, family, and community activities. This includes romance scams.
3) Bank oversight: Set up accounts with small balances and have banks send financials to a caregiver for oversight. Seniors should include safeguards in their durable powers of attorney to help prevent those being misused by their agent is another way to secure his or her assets. Use direct deposit for checks ensures that they go right into their accounts and are protected.
4) Investment Fraud: being aware, being careful, doing your homework, and asking for help.
Prevention for Seniors
If you are a senior here are some common warning signs of fraud. My best advice is to never rush into making a decision. Step back, take a moment to think about it and don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone you are comfortable with.
- Sense of urgency, trying to get you to react without thinking.
- Secrecy, asking you to not tell anyone.
- Out of norm requests, such as pay with bitcoin or gift cards.
- They appeal to your emotions, family emergencies, threats of personal violations such as arrests or bank account seizure.
- You are asked for information the caller should already know.
Prevention for Caregivers
- Keep loved ones informed on ways they could be scammed on the Internet, like through emails and pop-up ads.
- Check-in on your loved one’s bank accounts and retirement accounts often with an eye for odd purchases or withdrawals.
- Visit them to discuss their monthly bills and prescriptions.
- They may mention a “new” bill or a “cheaper” way to get the prescriptions they need in passing, so follow up on any of those.
- If a loved one discusses an upcoming vacation or a good deal they obtained, ask for more information about how they got the deal. Check to see if it’s valid.
- Make sure your loved ones know not to make any impulse buys on the Internet, especially if the “deal” is ending in the next few minutes.
- Detailed Obituaries can lead to identity fraud.
- Educate about giving out their financial information, usernames, passwords, credit card details, personal information, etc
For more information about scams and fraud check out www.checkfirst.ca or Canada Anti-Fraud Centre at Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Report crime online!
The RCMP are encouraging all Albertans to report eligible crimes online (select property crimes under $5,000). Reporting less serious crimes online helps emergency dispatch and frontline members focus their time on high-priority calls. It provides a convenient way to share photos to the RCMP as well. These reports assist in crime analysis, aid in establishing trends and patterns, and ultimately leads investigators to the chronic offenders. It also assists in making decisions about how and where to deploy resources. Crimes reported online will be taken just as seriously as crime reported in any other way.
Help reduce crime, report online! #ReportSmart
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