Senior fraud alert
Fraud is one of the most widespread crimes against seniors in Canada. Perpetrators typically view seniors as easy marks – they’re home during the day, probably have ready access to savings, and may be unaware of how little information a thief needs in order to commandeer a bank account or create a phony credit card.
Here’s a look at some of today’s most popular scams, which have cost seniors anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars apiece.
The grandparent scam
A fraudster, often acting as a police officer, phones a grandparent and says that his or her grandchild landed in jail. The unwitting senior wires a specified sum so the grandchild can be released immediately.
The prize scam
Seniors are told by phone or letter that they have won a large cash prize, a car, or trip. The senior just needs to forward a money order to cover contest fees, taxes and legal fees.
Perpetrators say they’re working in the area and have noticed a repair that’s required, such as roof damage: “Don’t pay for labour until you’re satisfied with the completed job – just pay up front for the supplies.”
Victims lose more than their money — they may also lose their sense of security, trust people less, or even become despondent or reclusive.
If you know of any potential victims, you may wish to warn them about hoaxes aimed at seniors. They should double-check any offer or request involving a payment, no matter how urgent or confidential it may seem.