Seniors are the most common victims of fraud and scams throughout Canada. They’re often targeted because they are more trustworthy, vulnerable, and may not have others close by to ask for help or advice. And when it impacts seniors, fraud can be devastating to their lives – costing them their money, health, and respect. To know if you or a family member is being impacted by fraudulent activity, see our list of most common scams below and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Con artists often steal people’s personal information like their bank card numbers, driver’s license numbers, and social insurance numbers to apply for credit cards, take out loans and withdraw money. And all they need is the information from the card - not even the card itself. So if someone asks for information regarding your personal account numbers, don’t provide it. Call your bank directly and ask if they have requested the information first. If you happen to lose your wallet or purse, file a report with the police and contact your bank right away to cancel any necessary cards.
Debit Card and Credit Card Fraud
Often con artists will watch people take out money or pay for items to obtain their card and PIN numbers. They then use this information to withdraw money from your account and make purchases. Always protect your PIN by covering it with your hand. Also, change the number frequently and dispose of any statements or old bills by using a shredder to protect your personal information best.
Thieves can also pretend to be charity foundations, bank employees, creditors, or sales agents. They may ask for money or your credit card details to access a reward, for a donation, or anything else. Be suspicious of someone you don’t know asking for your money. Never give out your personal information over the phone. Instead, hang up the phone and do the necessary research first to make sure that the business that’s calling you is legitimate, or call the number back to see who answers.
Door to Door Scams
If a salesman or a charity organization comes to your door, do not sign an agreement with them or buy anything without thinking it over. You can ask for their business card and the website online to do research before deciding. If they insist this is a one-time offer that must be agreed upon now, consider this as a red flag. Always investigate first before handing over your information or money.
Hackers can also attempt to access your personal information or bank details through online scams. To avoid becoming a victim, do not respond to emails or open attachments from people you do not know. Your bank will not ask you for personal information via the Internet, so these types of emails are often fraudulent. And if you notice that there are lots of spelling mistakes or from an international organization it is most likely a scam. If it looks like your bank or another respected institution, call the company directly to check that they are requesting this information and why.
Before you hire a company to do work in your home, ask for the names of each person who will enter your home and do a reference and background check to make sure you aren’t letting one inside that has a history of fraud.
Con artists are so good at scamming people that most people don’t realize they’ve been scammed until it’s too late. If you believe you have been scammed, you should report it immediately to your local authorities.