Abuse of elders and senior citizens is a very real problem, and many of these scams and frauds are targeted at those who are vulnerable.
June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness DayThe goal of the Niagara Regional Police Service is to bring awareness to communities, neighbors, friends and families of current scams that are targeting our communities. Abuse of elders and senior citizens is a very real problem, and many of these scams and frauds are targeted at those who are vulnerable.
Scams can occur over the phone, by text message, email, and door-to-door.
The following scams are currently the most common in the Niagara Region;
The "Grandparent Scam"
The scammers target the elderly in an attempt to steal large sums of money through a wire transfer. Financial losses from this scam are usually several thousand dollars per victim. A grandparent will receive a phone call from someone who claims to be their grandchild or someone acting on their behalf such as a police officer, lawyer, doctor, or other person. Make attempts to contact your grandchild or another family member first to determine whether the call is legitimate
Canada Revenue Agency ScamScammers posing as Canada Revenue Agency workers are still targeting people in the Niagara Region. The scam may insist that personal information is needed so that the taxpayer can receive a refund or a benefit payment. Cases of fraudulent communication could also involve threatening or coercive language to scare individuals into paying fictitious debt to the CRA. This debt repayment may involve gift cards and wire transfers. If you receive a call saying you owe money to the CRA, you can call or check "My Account" on line at http://cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html .
Door-to-Door Sales FraudWatch for door-to-door sales people who pressure you to enter your home to inspect items such as your monthly bill, hot water tank, furnace, and air conditioning. No one has the right to enter your property without prior notice. The situation of a person or persons attending your door unsolicited is yours to control. Never sign on the first day until you've had a chance to sleep on it. Don't be fooled by time sensitive deals or discounts.
Police are urging residents to follow the following tips;
- Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an email, especially overseas.
- People should resist the pressure to act quickly, if the offer is too good to be true it probably is.
- Do not provide personal information (e.g. SIN, passport number, credit card numbers, or banking information) over the phone unless you placed the call and you know who you are speaking to.
- Accredited businesses and Government Agencies will never ask for payment using gift cards of any kind.
- Consider adding your phone number to the National Do Not Call List http://lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/index-eng .
- Consult with someone you trust before you agree to give large sums of money to anyone.
- Consider sharing this information with everyone you know to get the message out.
- Talk to elderly friends, neighbors, and family who may not be connected to social media or may have missed previous warnings in the news.
If you have been a victim of a scam and experienced a financial loss, please call the Niagara Regional Police Service non-emergency number at 905-688-4111.
If you received one of these calls but did not experience a financial loss, call Phonebusters at 1-888-495-8501 or contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 http://antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm