Frauds, Scams and Theft
Fraud is the NUMBER ONE crime against seniors. Be an educated consumer. Not everyone who has been defrauded is even aware that they have been a victim.
Seniors are often targeted by con artists for a number of reasons:
- They often live alone and have more savings, assets, or disposable income.
- They are often home during the day and available.
- Generally, they are more trusting.
- They may have been scammed before and fraud artists will share lists of their victims.
- Many seniors do not report losing their money to a con artist because they are embarrassed and ashamed at having been deceived.
Scams can be conducted over the telephone, by mail, over the Internet, and door-to-door. Often, you will be pressured into donating or purchasing right now! Prizes, vacations, charities, club memberships, or investments can be the front used by con artists. Don’t fall for it!
- Legitimate organizations do not require immediate response and should allow you time to think about your decision. They should also provide you with information in the mail.
You are in
do not wish to
simply say “NO”
- Take your time and have others review information with you.
- If someone won’t let you get off the phone, hang up!
- Familiarize yourself with an organization by asking for references and asking a lot of questions.
- Be cautious of anyone claiming, “You will never get another opportunity like this”.
There are many types of frauds, scams and thefts designed
to part you from your money.
This is a term used to describe the sale of goods/services, or canvassing for charities or conducting surveys over the telephone. Telemarketing is a recognized legitimate business practice, but may be susceptible to misuse by unscrupulous individuals. Typical examples of these telemarketing scams are: Prize Scam, Lottery Scam, Charity Scam, and Vacation Scam.Check with
to ensure that
the charity is
- When a caller asks you to send money in order to claim a big prize, it’s a scam. Do not send out any money or give out your credit card number to the caller.
- No matter how incredible the odds may sound to you, the odds are still usually millions to one. Legitimate lottery and sweepstakes administrators never charge fees to deliver a prize.
- Many scams are successful because the name of the charity being used in the scam is similar to an easily recognized charity. Scammers also rely on the good will and compassion of people in times of crisis. True charitable causes are worthwhile.
- DIRECT MARKETING
A fraud that usually occurs when the con artist appears at your door and attempts to either sell you something (vacuum, home alarms, or meat freezer orders), or offers to do some type of home renovation (snow removal, roof repair or painting). As we age, we may find ourselves in need of hiring people to assist us in maintaining the comfort and security of our homes. Extra caution is needed here in obtaining services from those who may have access to our homes and our property.FRAUD
- Don’t feel pressured and never let strangers into your home.
- Never give a cash deposit or pay for work until it is done.
- Take time to compare quality, process and warranties. If you decide to purchase something, make sure you get a proper, fully itemized contract.
- Check out any company that you are unfamiliar with and want to determine whether it is a legitimate and reputable business. Call the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services, toll free 1- 800- 889-9768.
- Fraud artists come up with new frauds everyday to defraud you of your money and possessions. Do your homework. Get a contract. Have friends or relatives assist you.
- MAIL OR NEWSPAPER MARKETING
If it sounds too
good to be
Is a scam that reaches us through mail, E-mails, or the newspaper. It is important not to be confused or mislead by companies that sell products by mail and use contests or sweepstakes to catch your attention. Many are “too good to be true”. See these advertisements for the cons that they are. No matter how appealing these offers may sound, trust your good judgment, use your common sense and let these “opportunities” slip into the garbage. Delete the E-mails without opening them.
- BANK RELATED SCAMS
Bank Related Scams are common frauds involving seniors. There have been many changes in the financial services industry over the past few years. Consumers now have greater flexibility and more options than ever before regarding their finances. Appropriate care and diligence must be exercised when making financial transactions of any kind.Phone Busters
on phone fraud
Call toll free
- Get your bank or credit card back as soon as a transaction is completed.
- Never give out you bank or credit card number over the Internet or over the telephone to an unsolicited caller.
- Sign the backs of new cards as soon as you get them. Cut up your expired card.
- Never give someone a cheque without filling it out yourself.
- Don’t endorse cheques in advance.
- Report lost/stolen cards or cheques immediately.
- THEFTS BY DECEPTION OR DISTRACTION
A scam that involves one con artist distracting you with conversation or a question while another person steals your purse or personal property. These scams can happen at your front door or in the middle of a grocery store. Be extra cautious when approached by strangers, no matter how innocent or official they appear.
- Always keep all house or apartment doors locked, even when you are home.
- If someone is at your door and is requesting access as a public utilities inspector, ask to see their credentials and then call the company to confirm their identity.
- Never leave your purse or wallet in a shopping cart unattended.
- IDENTITY THEFT
An increasingly popular crime in Canada as a result of recent advances in technology. Knowledgeable criminals are figuring out how to steal identities by obtaining personal information. Once someone has assumed your identity, they can create havoc in your life; run up bills on your credit cards, take out loans in your name, transfer bank balances and open up new bank accounts.
Some advice on avoiding identity theft:
- Store your birth certificate and passport in a safe place. Only carry them with you when you absolutely have to.
- Store cards and documents containing personal information in a secure place, and shred them after they expire.
- Review bank and credit card statements frequently, report discrepancies immediately and shred old documents.
Identity theft steals
your good name, your
money, even your
Don’t let it happen to
- Shred or otherwise destroy pre-approved credit card receipts, bills and related information when no longer needed.
- Check out a missing or late credit card or bank statement immediately and report lost or stolen cards immediately.
- Sign all credit cards when you receive them and never loan them to anyone. Keep only a credit limit that you need.
- Cancel credit cards you do not use and keep a list of the ones you use regularly.
- Only purchase goods or services online from reputable retailers; fake websites are often designed to redirect credit card numbers and other valuable details.
- Keep your bank card’s personal identification number (PIN) secret and conceal the pad when entering the number at retailers or bank machines.
- Never leave a written copy of your Social Insurance Number, your bank PIN number, computer password etc. in your purse or wallet.
- Never leave receipts at bank machines, bank wickets or garbage cans. Make sure you destroy paperwork you no longer need.
- Never provide personal information such as your SIN, date of birth, credit card numbers, or PIN over the telephone unless you initiate the call.
Frauds/Scams Prevention Tips
- In the world of fraud, the two most used phrases are “Buyer Beware” and “You do not get something for nothing”. Commit those phrases to memory and repeat them to yourself whenever you receive any solicitation.
- Do not rush into any agreements that involve your property or money. Take your time and ask questions. Get more than one opinion as to the necessity of the work and a written quotation as to the cost.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Avoid “get rich” schemes.
- Be careful when signing contracts. Have a family member, trusted friend or a legal representative review it first.
- Read the fine print and if you do not understand, ASK QUESTIONS and GET ANSWERS.
- Report suspicious offers to the police immediately, before the suspect finds other victims. Casually take note of what he/she looks like and any vehicle being driven.
- Never turn over large amounts of cash to anyone, no matter how good the deal sounds.
- Never give out any personal information, such as bank or credit card numbers over the telephone, unless you have initiated the call to a reputable business.