As part of Fraud Prevention Month, the RCMP and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations are reminding the public about common ways criminals target senior citizens so that they fall victim to these scams.
"We are seeing more complex scams nowadays that can catch even the most cautious person off guard. Scammers befriend, gain trust and in some cases, scare seniors into parting with their money," says Sgt. Tom Murdock of the RCMP Financial Crime Team. "The best way to protect you and your family is to know how to recognize these scams."
Some of the more common scams targeting seniors in Nova Scotia include:
The Emergency Grand Parent Scam where a caller claims to be a family member or a close friend and advises the potential victim about an urgent situation that requires immediate funds.
The Prize Scam involves a scammer contacting the potential victim by phone or email and advising them that they are the winner of a large lottery or sweepstakes. Prior to receiving any winnings, the consumer must first pay an up-front fee. No winnings are ever received.
The Bank Inspector Scam occurs when suspect(s) make contact with the potential victim by phone advising that they require assistance to catch a bank employee that has been stealing money. The scammer instructs the individual to make a cash withdrawal from their bank account, place the money in an envelope and meet the ‘investigator’ at a designated location to turn over the money.
“We know that seniors are targeted in their homes, over the phone and through email, by scammers with aggressive pressure tactics,” said Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister Mark Furey. “All Nova Scotians, seniors in particular, need to be consumer-aware. You should never sign or buy anything on the spot. You can contact our department or the Better Business Bureau to check for any consumer warnings.”
For more information on these scams and tips to protect yourself, please visit http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/index-eng.htm or http://www.novascotia.ca/snsmr/access/individuals/consumer-awareness/consumer-alerts/scammed.asp.
If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca.