Avoiding Financial Loss from Scammers

Avoiding Financial Loss from Scammers

In the last couple years, scammers have found a way to weasel their way into our elderly communities throughout Ontario. In Toronto alone, 80 seniors have been scammed out of 1.1 million dollars since 2021. Many of these calls consist of people impersonating a family member saying they are in jail and need bail money. These scammers do their research on social media and may even have the family member’s name, making it feel very real. Often the scammer will sound distressed and begin to cry and pass the phone onto another scammer that impersonates a police officer or lawyer. This is their way of convincing the senior this is true and typically puts fear and panic on them, which makes them want to immediately help their family member out of a bad situation.

Once the senior agrees to pay the bail money, they typically demand cash and send a person to the home to pick up the money. They also sometimes request cash to be sent through the mail, and on occasion have asked for a wire transfer or direct deposit as form of payment.

Ways to avoid this type of scam would be:

  • Hang up and call your family member on the phone number you have listed for them.
  • Hang up and call your local police department to ensure legitimacy of the call.
  • Have conversations with your parents, grandparents, and any seniors you’re close with about these situations.
  • Ensure your social media account is set to private and avoid posting any personal details about you or your family on a public page.

Another thing to remember is in Canada, we do not have a cash bail system and instead we rely on sureties, which means upfront cash isn’t required to bail an accused person out of detention. If you believe you are or have been the victim of fraud, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center say you should contact your local police and call the centre at 1-888-495-8501 or file a report through the federal Fraud Reporting System. At MLP we take fraudulent calls very seriously, and we encourage our residents to make us aware if they ever suspect someone is not who they say they are so we can alert the appropriate authorities and let their families know.

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