March is fraud prevention month. Fraud is an equal opportunity crime. Fraud targets individuals of all ages, ethnicities and walks of life. Businesses large and small can also fall victim. That being said, seniors are particularly vulnerable. Fraud is the leading type of crime experienced by older Canadians.
According to the Government of Canada, at a site titled What every older Canadian should know about: Fraud and scams, seniors are targeted more than other age groups. The reasons cited for this include: seniors are more trusting, seniors are more frequently home during the day to answer the phone or respond to a knock at the door, and seniors may not have family or friends close by with whom to consult. I would add that higher rates of diminished capacity among this cohort make seniors particularly vulnerable.
In addition to the site set out above, there are lots of great resources available to help seniors and their families learn about – and protect themselves from – fraud. The Competition Bureau site provides some very useful information on fraud and its prevention. Contents include information on how to recognize and report fraud and some common scams. Victim’s stories help bring the information to life. You may find the Little Black Book of Scams a particularly useful resource: “it debunks common myths about scams, provides contact information for reporting a scam to the correct authority, and offers a step-by-step guide for scam victims to reduce their losses and avoid becoming repeat victims”.
You’ll find additional information and tools on the websites of each of the bank: Here’s a link to Scotia’s Security Centre.
Final tip: prepare a continuing power of attorney for property in which you appoint an attorney who is honest and trustworthy, with the time, expertise and inclination to assume this important role.
I encourage you to explore these resources and to share with family, friends and clients. You can never be too careful.
Thanks for reading.