𝗙𝗿𝗮𝘂𝗱 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗧𝗶𝗽𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗦𝗲𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗿𝘀
𝙋𝙖𝙧𝙩 𝙤𝙣𝙚: 𝗧𝗲𝗰𝗵𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗼𝗴𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗮𝘂𝗱
Why are seniors targeted for fraud?
Generally speaking, victims who become the targets of scams are considered to be in the vulnerable segments of the population. Elderly individuals are some of our most vulnerable and unfortunately are frequent targets of fraud scams.
Some contributing factors:
May have a nest egg such as a retirement saving or access to credit earned
Seniors may less likely to report fraud because they are ashamed at being scammed, don't know they have been scammed or do not know how or who to report to that they have been taken advantage of. Elderly victims may not report financial crimes due to worries that relatives may believe they have the mental capacity to take care of their financial affairs.
Learning new technologies and their terminology
Vulnerable persons may be more susceptible to products or services promising increased cognitive function, physical conditioning, health remedies and solutions to problems that may not actually exist.
Temporary or permanent Health Conditions
While traditionally fraud schemes against the elderly have been done over the telephone or through door-to-door sales, times have changed with all the new technology that is available. From computers and tablets to applications and smartphones the elderly are prime targets to schemes attributed to online transactions including memberships or subscriptions, banking scams, investments, contests, romance schemes & the list continues to grow.
Technology scams & online membership trials
Scheme Scenario 1:
Receive a call claiming you have won a vacation or qualify for a discounted rate for a vacation.
In these instances, fraudsters offer free or discounted vacations using legitimate company names, such as Expedia, Air Canada or WestJet. You get a cold call congratulating you for having won a contest that you do not remember entering or you might be told that as a preferred customer, you have been given a discount on a destination vacation—as long as you book right away. Only to find out that you need to provide a credit card to secure your spot or guarantee the vacation. In some instances the scammer asks for a nominal fee to obtain your personal information
The old saying "if it's too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true" is an old and trusted phrase that we can lean on. When receiving unsolicited phone calls about contests, discounts and special offers it is always best to exercise on the side of caution by not disclosing any personal information and hang up the phone.
Scheme Scenario 2:
Are Trial Memberships Really Free? Yes, and no! High-pressure tactics such as putting time limits on free offers put vulnerable people at the risk of making impulsive decisions. Most free trial offers come with fine print buried somewhere on a website, application or somewhere electronically that does not give a fair opportunity to view and evaluate the risks.
Always look for the TOS or Terms of Service agreement located within the offer. If there isn't one or you can't find it, best to avoid signing up.
When you do find the TOS keep your eyes peeled for the following information that might be helpful.
1. How long is the trial for?
2. What potential charges happen during or after the trial expires.
3. How frequent will you be charged.
3. Do you have to purchase something prior, during or after to get the free membership?
3. How do you cancel?
4. What if any penalties exist for cancellation?
Are free applications really free? Yes, and no!
Some use high-pressure techniques like time limits to speed up the transaction process.
Trap Online purchase scam reports include a large number of so-called free trial offers. Many free trial offers come with fine print buried on the order page or behind a link that gives consumers only a short period of time to receive, evaluate, and return the product to avoid being charged. In addition, the same hidden information may state that by accepting the free trial offer, the consumer is signing up for monthly shipments of the products and that fees will be charged to their credit card. Many people find it difficult to contact the seller to stop recurring charges, halt shipments, and get refunds. When ordering online, don’t click too fast. Review the order form. Look for pre-checked boxes. You may be giving permission to send more products that you’ll have to pay for if you don’t cancel, or you may be agreeing to a strict cancellation policy and not know it. This is can happen with contests, charities, health products, banking and credit cards and membership trials.
Scheme Scenario 3:
Thanks to online dating scams, each year thousands of Canadians who are searching for love end up with nothing but a broken heart and an empty wallet.
Online dating and social media sites have become increasingly popular tools to find love and friendship. Unfortunately where there is opportunity there is a romance scammer. These con artists create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money.
Romance scammers are experts in sound very convincing and are masters at social manipulation. Some signs may be subtle because they are trying to build your trust. Others may be more obvious and direct. To avoid online dating scams, be on the lookout for these four red flags when you’re getting to know someone online:
Bragging or obsessively boasting about how much money or materialistic things they have. This can be an open door to building the belief that the scammer is stable and financially responsible. Ultimately attempting to close your mind to any sort of scam
Quick love seems to be a common behaviour of online scammers. Often times, the first sign of an online dating scam shows up when a romance scammer expresses strong emotions in a relatively short period of time. They may even say that they’re in love with you, but it’s a tactic they’re using to get you to give up personal details and answers to the security questions that you use to lock down your accounts across the Internet. Guard your personal information carefully, and be wary if a new love interest asks for personal details soon after contact.
Sudden emergencies that require financial assistance is also a common practice for online romance scammers. We could write a book just on the excuses but it comes down to not giving out any money!
Scheme Scenario 4
Phone calls from revenue Canada or the Government of Canada
Calls to seniors to make the claim that Revenue Canada has a refund for you.
or.....making the claim that you owe Revenue Canada money and if you do not pay you risk being charged.
It is a sad reality now that any calls from Government need to be followed up on. The best way is to to ask to ensure that you really are talking to the government is to ask for a number that you can call back on. If the number is not registered to the Government of Canada it is likely a scammer. The best thing to do is to block the number.
Are you a senior who needs support services at home? Pacific Coast Health Services provides a wide range of support services for seniors in Victoria B.C and Nanaimo, B.C.
Visit our services section
Call our 24/7 care line at (250) 389-0202 for more information.