Monday, June 26th, 2017
June is Seniors' Month, and unfortunately, fraudsters prey on this demographic regularly. Elders are often home more, many still have landlines (and answer them) and because they're newer to the Internet, social media, emailing and text messaging, scammers target them specifically.
One scam that can do incredible damage to the heart and bank account is what's called a Romance Scam. The CAFC (Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre) warns that "romance scams continue to cause severe financial harm on consumers, which has a profound impact."
In 2016, 689 victims lost over $14.3 million to scammers pretending to be in love. While seniors didn't account for all of the victims, they are more vulnerable to being duped because many are inexperienced with spotting Internet and social media fraud.
Nancy Cahill from the CAFC explains the scam works with "fraudsters stealing photos and using dating sites and social media to lure potential victims into sending money for various reasons. The fraudster will gain the trust of the victims through displays of affection and in some cases will send flowers, gifts and tokens to prove that their feeling is genuine."
This increases the trust level between the victim and the fraudster, which results in the potential victim usually losing more money with each new request. And the longer it goes on, the worse it gets.
How to Protect Yourself from Romance Scams
Tyler Fleming from the Ontario Securities Commission says romance scams aren't the only schemes seniors need to watch for.
"While anyone can be a victim of fraud, this Seniors' Month we encourage older investors to get to know some of the warning signs of investment fraud," he says.
4 Investment Fraud Warning Signs
According to a survey conducted by the OSC in 2015, 35% of people who have been victims of investment fraud are defrauded more than once. So be sure to share this article with the elders in your life, and if you encounter suspicious activity, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
For more information on how to protect yourself, visit: