Mar 25, 2019
How you can help seniors avoid becoming victims of fraud
For Fraud Prevention Month the TD Newsroom is sharing tips and information to help identify the most common fraud scams affecting Canadians. Follow along to help you recognize and report financial fraud.
Financial fraud is a problem that affects millions of Canadians every year, with older Canadians increasingly becoming the target of potential fraudsters.
According to Canada's Competition Bureau[i], Canadians aged 60 to 79 lost an estimated $94 million to various scams between January 2014 and December 2017.
Many of the most common scams law enforcement officials are seeing today – including the so-called 'grandparent scam' – are designed to specifically target seniors.
Nearly 6 in 10 (59 per cent) respondents to a recent TD Fraud survey said they're worried that older family members may be vulnerable to fraud.
Unfortunately, less than half of those polled (45 per cent) said they have had a conversation with older family members about being wary of financial fraud.
"As fraudsters continue to target seniors, it's more important than ever to have these conversations," said Tammy McKinnon, Head of Financial Crimes and Fraud Management Group, TD Bank Group. "We all have a role to play in helping prevent fraud, and we can make a big impact by sharing our knowledge with the seniors in our lives."
As fraudsters increasingly leverage new technologies and tactics to create more sophisticated scams, it's important to have conversations with older friends and family members to help them better understand how to identify and avoid fraud.
Here are some tips to help guide a conversation about how fraud can impact seniors:
- Learn to recognize common scams: Talk to the seniors in your life about how to spot some of the more common types of scams – including romance scams, lottery scams, and the grandparent scam. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is a great resource for current fraud trends.
- Talk to family and friends about how they can protect themselves: Provide family members with a few helpful reminders to protect themselves, such as being mindful of sharing personal or financial information with someone over the phone or online.
- Encourage seniors you know to keep an eye on their finances: Suggest signing up for online and telephone banking so they can regularly review their account activity. If they have a mobile phone, advise them to sign up for text message fraud alerts from their bank.
- Tell seniors you know that it's okay to ask for help: Remind them that if something seems strange or too good to be true, it's wise to ask a trusted friend for a second opinion.
Most of all, it's important for seniors, and all Canadians, to shake off the stigma that comes with being defrauded.
Fraud doesn't discriminate – Canadians of all ages lost more than $405 million to fraudsters between January 2014 and December 2017, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre[ii] – and that only represents the fraud that was reported. The more we talk about it, the more we can help prevent our friends and family from becoming the victim of fraud.