We’ve all heard these stories.
A grandparent receives a call from someone claiming to be their grandchild in trouble. Something happened and they need help. “Can you send me some money?”
Or the phone rings and you’re told that you’ve won a trip. But, to claim the prize you must first pay a fee upfront to cover the taxes. All in all, it ends up that there is no trip and all money is lost.
On April 19, about 25 seniors from Fort St. James attended a Fraud and Scams Seminar hosted by the Stuart Lake Seniors Association and the Seniors Helping Seniors Association.
Cst. Sanchez from the RCMP in Fort St. James presented information on fraud and scams targeting seniors today.
Sanchez, who has been policing in Fort St. James for four years, is quite familiar with these scams and says that seniors continue to be the most popular targets.
“Fraud and scams come in three different ways: phone call, internet scams and mail fraud,” Sanchez said.
Phone fraud is the most popular scam and usually involves someone trying to obtain an identity or card information.
“If something sounds too good to be true like a trip or a lottery winning, it usually is,” Sanchez said.
Scammers will often use intimidation by threatening those they call. A popular example today involves scammers who say that they are from the Canada Revenue Agency and that after an audit you owe money and must pay right away.
Sanchez says that this is a common scam today and the best way to deal with this is try to get as much information from the caller as you can and say that you will call back or have them call you back.
“Nothing is that urgent that needs to be dealt with right away,” Sanchez said.
Some callers pretend to be religious groups or charities. Again, the best way to deal with these calls is to get details, check the legitimacy of the group and call them back if you are concerned.
During the presentation, seniors shared their own stories of scams and fraud and yes, it does happen in Fort St. James.
“Never agree to something you don’t understand,” Sanchez said.
“If it’s not straightforward, it’s more than likely, a scam.”
For more information regarding fraud and scams, contact the RCMP at: (250) 996-8269.