Those in their golden years are among Canada’s most important citizens, but they can also be among the most vulnerable. As we grow older, our bodies and minds become more easily fatigued, our mental processes can become cloudy, and we do not always have the capacity to think things through as well as we should.
As a result, senior citizens are among those most often targeted by scam artists. Elderly people are often more easily confused and frightened; scam artists play on those weaknesses. Aggressive, but official sounding people often call seniors claiming to be from trusted companies or the government and convince them to reveal confidential data that can result in identity theft and major financial loss. Scam artists even use the old-fashioned form of snail mail to target their intended victims because seniors are more likely to read their mail.
Even if you are acting as power of attorney for a relative, take some time to educate them on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud:
- Advise the elderly people in your life to never give out personal information over the phone. If they receive an offer through the mail that requires bank account or credit card information, tell them to show it to you first.
- If the senior receives a call stating that they have a won a prize and just need to pay the handling fee, advise them to turn it down and hang up. After all, why should you have to pay anything for something that is free?
- If someone shows up at the person’s door offering to make some kind of repairs, they should be told to leave their card or a number and someone will get back to them. Do not accept offers from workmen you have not researched or requested to show up at the house.
Here is a good article that offers more tips and the best ways on how to talk to your parents about this subject.