Seniors in Nova Scotia and across the country are increasingly being targeted for fraud.
“It’s a disaster for many,” said Bill Vankorder of the Canadian Retirees Association (CARP).
VanGorder said that since the outbreak, scams online or over the phone have become more common than ever.
“It’s like criminals are turning their attention to the old Noah’s Scots,” he said.
“You know that the Nova Scots, the Atlantic Canadians, are the most, especially the elderly, the most optimistic.
“They did not think anyone would try to do such a thing to them. This is one of the reasons they did not recognize it.”
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The Nova Scotia RCMP recently warned residents about a scam targeting grandparents, in which a fraudster poses as a lawyer and contacts a target, claiming that their grandson has been arrested and needs money to free him. In one case, the RCMP reported on March 10 that a victim had sent $ 9,000 in mail to a fraudster.
Vancouver says what makes seniors more vulnerable is that they have more time to talk on the phone when they call, and they are more likely to listen, especially considering the loneliness many have felt over the past two years.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center, Nova Scotians paid more than $ 2.5 million for fraud in 2021, an increase of 331 percent over 2020.
“When people feel lonely and isolated from family, they don’t always make good decisions,” Vancouver said.
And he believes the problem is far worse than is generally known.
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National statistics show that only 30 percent of those who fall victim to fraud report it to the police, “so it’s like the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
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But phone scams are not the only problem. The elderly also suffer from being exploited when looking for expensive services.
The Ontario couple believe that what they call a “nightmare” will never meet any other elderly person.
While moving into the province, Kathleen Finley hired a moving company that advertises for the elderly to move all of her family’s belongings.
After reading the reviews online, 65-year-old Finley thought it was a business he could trust, but it was far from the truth.
“It was so stressful, I’m coming back now, I’m thinking about it, I’m starting to get palpitations,” he said.
Finley said after being satisfied with the initial price estimate provided by the company, he was overcharged and his goods were taken hostage.
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A company representative “threatened to send the police to follow me and, of course, threatened to sell our products if I did not pay his elevated fee,” he said. “What should I do. I have no choice.”
When he retrieves his items, he says they were beaten, dirty and broken.
“I say it’s devastatingly difficult to deal with, especially for the elderly.”
Now she wants to warn others.
“It was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life. In fact, it was the most costly mistake.”
If something doesn’t look right, or seems too good to be true, it probably is, Finley said.
RCMP spokesman Andrew Joyce said the agency encourages people to contact seniors living alone and warns of potential fraud.
“We urge you to talk to these people and let them know what you know.”
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