With the ageing process comes the need to evolve and adapt to accommodate inevitable changes. From managing physical concerns to planning for retirement and beyond, the needs of seniors are markedly different than those of their younger counterparts. Unfortunately, an additional matter that older Canadians have to contend with is protecting themselves against fraud.
Elder abuse in the form of fraud is the number one crime against older Canadians for a range of reasons. Criminals often believe that the elderly may have more money as a result of decades of saving or they may take advantage of the fact that seniors are more likely to be at home. Regardless of the motivation behind the crime, fraud against the elderly can have catastrophic consequences.
The Importance Of Awareness
One of the reasons that fraud is so dangerous is that it can be difficult to detect. Scammers rely on their ability to trick their targets into believing that they are legitimate which can result in tremendous loss in a short period of time. Sophisticated techniques and skillful manipulation can cause even the savviest people to fall for a scam.
Fraud and scams against seniors are varied which can make them harder to protect oneself against. While there are many different ways that a scam artist can go after a potential victim, some key forms of fraud to be aware of include:
- Identity Theft- by securing personal information, a criminal can apply for a range of financial products including credit cards, loans, lines of credit, and mortgages under the victim’s name.
- Telephone Scams- Telephone scammers often use high-pressure tactics to coerce targets into providing them with financial information. There are often false promises of a prize or other reward. In some cases, the scammer will allege that a family member or loved one is in danger and requires financial help.
- Door-To-Door Scams- Scammers often present themselves as salespeople or tradespersons and try to either sell a product or force a service onto the homeowner.
- Credit Card Fraud– With the increasing popularity of e-commerce and online banking, criminals often capitalize on unsecure websites or improperly discarded financial documents to purchase or withdraw funds from a victim’s account.
If a person believes that they or a loved one has been the victim of fraud, it is critical to work with an lawyer who is well-versed in elder law. Seniors face unique challenges when it comes to being victims of abuse which makes having skilled support and an understanding of their legal rights so important.