Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan

FCAA is Saskatchewan’s financial and consumer marketplace regulator.

Senior Financial Abuse

  • Senior Financial Abuse

    Seniors are often a target for financial exploitation and fraud because they are trusting, have a willingness to listen and have accumulated savings. Seniors can be targeted by someone they know such as a family member or caregiver as well as fraudsters. Make sure to understand the red flags of exploitation and fraud and learn ways to protect yourself and your loved ones.

    For information about senior financial abuse consult the resources below.

     

     

     

    Red flags for seniors
    Here are some red flags that indicate you might have been targeted:

    • A relative, caregiver or a new “friend” suggests they start taking control of your finances.
    • Prize offers appear without any prior enrollment.
    • Anyone asking you for large sums of money.
    • Calls from individuals you do not know asking you to wire money.
    • Someone offers you something that is too good to be true.
    • Someone calls asking to access your computer.

     

    Red flags for family members and caregivers
    Here are some red flags that indicate a senior might have been targeted:

    • A senior starts talking about a new “friend” and their helpful financial advice. 
    • A relative, caregiver or new “friend”, starts conducting financial transactions on behalf of the senior without proper authorization or through an unexpected Power of Attorney.
    • They express excitement over a financial windfall or prize cheque.
    • Sudden appearance of uninvolved family members claiming rights to possessions.
    • Noticeable changes in banking habits, such as NSF activity or inconsistent transactions.
    • They withdraw large sums of money.
    • Suspicious signatures on cheques.
    • Behavourial changes such as depression or fear.

     

    Preventative steps for seniors
    Take action to protect yourself:

    • Be very cautious when speaking to people on the phone you do not know.
    • If you do not wish to receive unsolicited calls, add your phone number to the Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-866-580-DNCL (1-866-580-3625).
    • If someone emails, texts or calls asking for personal or banking information, do not provide the information.   
    • Get independent legal advice before signing contracts or agreements including those involving your bank accounts or property.
    • Never wire money to a stranger. 
    • Do not let family members or caregivers pressure you into making financial decisions.
    • If appointing a Power of Attorney, make sure it is with someone you trust and consult a lawyer.
    • If someone calls asking for money and they claim to be someone you know, do not give them the money until you verify their identity.
    • Do not download email attachments from people you don’t know because they could be trying to gain access to your computer.

     

    Preventative steps for family members and caregivers
    Take action to protect a senior:

    • Tell them not to give out personal or banking information if someone emails, texts or calls asking for it.
    • Make sure antivirus software is installed and up to date on their computer.
    • To stop unsolicited calls, add their phone number to the Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-866-580-DNCL (1-866-580-3625).
    • Tell them to not reply to sweepstake offers and unsolicited mail.
    • Stay actively involved in their day-to-day life and ask what happened throughout the day.
    • Tell them to call you or someone they trust before they make a financial decision.

     

    Who to contact
    If you or a loved one suspect’s financial exploitation or fraud has occurred, contact the following organizations:

    • Local police or RCMP
    • Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority - contact Shannon Ash at (306) 787-5936 or shannon.ash@gov.sk.ca
    • The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee of Saskatchewan - The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee of Saskatchewan is for a person who has been certified by the chief psychiatrist to be incapable of managing their financial and property affairs or is a vulnerable adult due to an illness, disability or aging process limitation that places the individual at risk of financial abuse.


    Common frauds
    Here are common financial frauds that target seniors:

    Investment seminars
    Seminars promoting tax breaks or shelters such as “Move your money” or “pay less tax” are often too good to be true. After taking the fraudster up on the opportunity, you may find out that the investment is no longer eligible for a tax shelter and you may be assessed by the Canada Revenue Agency for additional taxes and/or penalties.

    Offshore investment scam
    You send your money “off shore” to another country to avoid taxes or make large returns, and once it’s in someone else’s control, it is virtually impossible to track your money and get it back.

    Subscription scam: free trial
    You receive an offer for a free trial but you need to enter your credit card information to enroll in the offer. Later you notice you have been charged monthly fees even though you never authorized a payment.

    Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams
    You have been told you have won a lottery or sweepstakes and need to respond to the sender immediately with money or your credit card information to claim the prize. Your money will never be seen again.

    The Grandparent Scam
    A fraudster calls and pretends to be a grandchild and asks the senior to wire money to resolve an unexpected financial problem. If the money is wired, it is not traceable so the money will never be seen again.

    Websites offering “Big Returns”
    Fraudsters will set up highly sophisticated investing websites promising big returns for a small investment. They also issue press releases that make false claims about performance. These websites are usually fictitious and if you invest, your money will be gone.
     

    Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority

    Suite 601, 1919 Saskatchewan Drive

    Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 4H2

    Tel: (306)787-5645

    Fax: (306)787-5899

    Email: fcaa@gov.sk.ca

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