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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Here are common financial frauds that target seniors:
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.