This Blog was written by Kimberley Ling, Scotia Wealth Management
This past weekend I watched the movie ‘I Care a Lot’– very timely and relevant as March is Fraud Prevention month. In this fictional movie, the main character runs a disturbing guardianship business that preys on wealthy seniors, taking control of their assets and locking them in nursing homes with no contact to the outside world. The movie gives a glimpse into the elaborate lengths fraudsters are willing to go to despite the obstacles. Today’s fraudsters are more sophisticated than ever, taking advantage of the environment and technology. Financial fraud can occur to anyone but seniors remain more vulnerable. Here are some tips and reminders on protecting oneself from the increasingly creative scams.
- Don’t engage in suspicious emails, text messages and phone calls. Fraudsters try to get the recipient to provide their personal information. Often times, the sender pretends to be a service provider and request the recipient to click on a link or open an attachment to enter in their information. It is best to delete any emails, text messages and voicemails that are not recognizable. Never provide personal information from unsolicited emails, phone calls and text messages.
- Before buying a product or making a donation, research the company or organization. A simple google search will provide reviews and any red flags. Research if the company address is real and if the phone number is correct.
- Passwords should not be written down and shared. A strong password should be unique, minimum of 8 characters and contains a combination of both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. It should not be easily guessed or reflect any personal information, such as birth dates or names.
- Finally, regularly review bank accounts, credit card transactions and other statements to ensure there are no charges you don’t recognize.
If you suspect a scam, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit antifraudcentre.ca