Seniors swapped stories about frauds and scams and learned how to better protect themselves during a police presentation at the Golden Circle Senior Resource Centre Tuesday morning.
“It’s our reality right now. People are trying to deceive us,” said Red Deer RCMP Const. Grace Jeanveau to about 60 seniors who came out to the Central Alberta Council on Aging event.
“It’s not only seniors. There’s no discrimination with fraud.”
She said it’s scary to know scammers can be so deceiving that they can trick others into giving them money. But there are ways that people can protect themselves.
When it comes to seniors, face-to-face interaction on their doorstep leaves some seniors more vulnerable to scammers, she said.
She recommended that seniors not even answer the door if they don’t want to.
“Do not let people inside your house – charity people, cleaning people. Just be protective of yourself, of your own person, of your information.”
She said the emergency scam is one of the newest. It involves someone claiming to be a family member, or close friend of a family member, calling on behalf of family who faces an urgent situation, like needing to pay a hospital bill while on vacation abroad, and needs money.
“It happens. That’s why it works so well because it might not be far from the truth.”
Sometimes grandchildren or children have needed money in the past so it may sound legitimate, she said.
Traffic violation or infringement scams are another new email scam. The notice claims to be from the Canadian government and comes with fake photographic evidence.
“Traffic infringements are not going to come by email. They come by mail. Delete it. Don’t even open it,” Jeanveau said.
Jane Grenier-Frank, council on aging president, said a lot of stories were shared by seniors, and Jeanveau provided some good tips.
“You could tell it was so well appreciated and obviously hit home. I thought it was excellent,” Grenier-Frank said.
“There’s all sorts of things I learned today.”
Grenier-Frank said she was definitely going home to get rid of old receipts with information identity thieves could use. And she was going to remove unnecessary documents from her wallet in case her purse is ever stolen, and store them in a safer place.
“I have my birth certificate in my wallet – shame on me.”