Expert Advice: I Told You So

Q: I’ve heard that the RCMP is warning seniors about scams. My mom won’t listen to me but I know she reads Solutions religiously. Can you print some of the worst ones?

A: To protect yourself and your loved ones from fraud, it helps to be aware of common scams. In its ‘Seniors Guidebook to Safety and Security,’ the RCMP warns Canadians about these common schemes:

• Extortion scams and debt collection scams: Scammers pretend to represent government agencies, such as the Canada Revenue Agency or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. They demand personal information, including financial details and passwords, or payment for “back taxes” by wire transfer or with prepaid credit cards.

• Technical service scams: Fraudsters pretend to offer services such as Internet, finance, energy or telecommunications services; including insurance and extended warranties. According to the RCMP, the most-reported service scams targeting Canadians are the anti-virus software scam (fake Microsoft or Windows technicians) and lower interest rate scams.

• Charity scams: Scammers impersonate real charities in person, on the phone or online, often exploiting a real-world disaster or issue. They may use the logos and branding of real charities as part of the ruse.

If you think you or someone you know has been targeted by fraudsters—or if you’ve lost money to a scam—report the incident to the police. You can also notify the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, by calling 1-888-495-8501. Call, even if the amount you lost is small; reporting it may help prevent others from being scammed.

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