'Tis the season for holiday scams! Fraudsters are looking to take advantage of the increased activity, shopping, and stress of the festive season. Seniors are targeted more frequently because they tend to be home, answer the phone and door, and are perceived to have more readily available money. Fraudsters play off these vulnerabilities. Fraud with Seniors tends not to get reported as they may feel ashamed, or fear others will think they cannot care for themselves. As my mom always said, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!” Yet scams these days are so slick and very sophisticated that it is easy to get fooled. Also, many victims are not aware of support resources or do not know how to access them. Below are a few common scams targeting older adults in our communities as noted by the Office of The Seniors Advocate and links to resources about common scams and how to protect yourself and your loved ones.
“You may receive messages claiming to be from a recognizable source (e.g. financial institution, telecommunications company, service provider, shipping company) asking you to submit or confirm your information.
If you are looking to purchase a new cellphone this holiday season, don't fall for an incoming call claiming to be from your service provider. Always find the official phone number for your service provider and make the outgoing call.
During the season of giving, make sure your donations are going to the right places. Charity/donation scams involve any false, deceptive, misleading, or fraudulent solicitation for a donation to a charity, association, federation, or religious cause. Refuse high-pressure requests for donations, ask for written information about the charity, and do your own research.
Remember to always ask the solicitor for the charitable tax number and confirm their registration with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or by phone at 1-800-267-2384.
The Government of Canada has a prevention list.
the BC Law Insitute is a valuable resource for fraud prevention legal information concerning older adults.
The Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (CNPEA) is another valuable resource for fraud prevention.
Our local senior centres also provide information sessions, check out their monthly calendars.
Ensure the older adults in our lives are aware of frauds that target them. Encourage them to speak up and report fraud to you and the authorities. Together let’s protect our older adults.
The photo is from the Office of the Seniors Advocate Facebook page