Eckville was treated to a Seniors and Fraud information session on Thursday.
The session focused on teaching seniors how to recognize fraud as well as safety tips to avoid becoming a victim to scams.
The program used at the session at the Eckville Municipal Library on Feb. 13 was put together by the Alberta Council of Aging as a Senior Friendly Publication.
According to the package, fraud is a common occurrence that can happen to anyone, but seniors are high targets because of stereotypes such as seniors being trusting or having retirement funds.
Throughout the presentation the top eight scams seniors fall victim to were highlighted and discussed.
First up was Power of Attorney fraud, which comes in result of designating an untrustworthy person as your Power of Attorney (POA). This designation gives a person complete access to finances and financial information.
Seniors are advised to be wary of someone asking you to be your POA, put in an accountability clause, and pay bills through automatic payment.
Consumer fraud occurs when a product or service sold doesn’t measure up to what was promise, for example, if you hire a crew to do repairs on your home and they leave halfway through after receiving payment upfront.
Tips on how to avoid falling victim include researching the company before doing business, get several quotes, and watch for quotes that are too high or too low.
Listed as one of the top three reported scams to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre, the Grandparent Scam sees seniors sending money to a con-artist posing as their grandchild stating a reason such as car trouble.
It is recommended the person get in touch with the “grandchild’s” parents to verify the story and collect more information before any money is sent.
Investment fraud, according to the Alberta Securities Commission, has taken 13 per cent of Albertans as victim.
Some tips to avoiding falling for a scam are to make sure you get everything in writing, ask questions and never sign something you don’t completely understand.
Additionally, beware of “limited time offers” or interest rates that seem “too good to be true.”
Telemarketing frauds pose as the government, your bank, charities, as well as a host of other things to try and gain access to your money and get payment in the form of gift cards.
Seniors and Fraud facilitator Daryl Pickering said simply during the session, “never give any information over the phone unless you initiated the call.”
Moreover, Internet fraud can take shape in the same format, but through email rather than phone number.
Companies such as banks or insurance agencies will never ask for personal information via email.
Making purchases on websites that are not secure or reputable can also result in the sharing of banking information. By using a third party site like Paypal the site you are purchasing from will not gain access to your information.
Identity theft can now be wireless as scammers hold a device near a bank card to copy all their information.
To avoid falling victim to all types of identity theft it is advised you check you bank statements and bills for unusual activity and use protective sleeves on payment cards.
The final type of fraud discussed on Thursday was the Romance Scam.
These type of scammers use fake profiles online and use a fake persona to make the victim fall in love. Once a relationship is established they will ask the victim for money for various reasons.
The provided tips for the Romance Scam are to be cautious of who you are talking to, search their profile for any discrepancies and decline to help new friends financially.
Pickering says the free sessions are held with the goal of being able to educate people.