This week we will talk about two scams that are designed to take a seniors money with a simple telephone call. The first one is called The Lottery Scam. The odds of winning
the lottery are about one in a million, sometimes more. Everyone has bought a ticket or two in their day especially when the prize gets into the multi-millions. A couple of weeks ago we talked about a scam called The Pigeon Drop and this one is fairly similar. Both are about getting something for nothing or almost nothing. A senior will get a telephone call from someone who invites them to become part of a special group that is buying a large number of lottery tickets. The tickets aren’t for local lotteries but ones that are overseas. The caller claims that the odds of winning go from millions to one down to as little as six to one and the senior is probably already a winner! Police advise that no matter what the caller says the odds per ticket remain the same, always millions to one. The BC Lottery Corporation will never contact a person by telephone to buy a ticket. Their advice is simple: DO NOT BUY LOTTERY TICKETS FROM A TELEPHONE SOLICITATION. You are guaranteed to lose….big time!
The next scam appeals to an elderly person’s desire to help a charity. The caller will appear to be soliciting for what is clearly a worthy cause. Although the name is familiar it isn’t quite what the senior remembers. The caller will reassure the victim that they are indeed genuine and often in times of crisis, the caller will use a name that is very similar to legitimate fundraising efforts. They will ask for a credit card number for a donation and assure the senior that they will receive a tax receipt. Today’s society has numerous charities so it is hard to know all of them. First of all, make a note of the charity’s name. Write it down. Tell the caller that they will need to send you a donation envelope. If they aren’t a legitimate charity this request will usually stop them in their tracks and they will give you a bunch of excuses why they can’t comply. They will pressure you to simply give them your credit card number or send a cheque. This should be your cue to hang up. A true charity will be happy to accommodate your request. To be on the safe side never send money to a charity you don’t recognize.
As people age, they get a lot smarter. But unfortunately there are wolves in sheep’s clothing who are constantly on the lookout for ways to part seniors from their money. As in the old boy scout motto, it is a good idea to be prepared for when those people call. Next week we’ll be talking about how to deal with public utility impostors who come to your door
Lilianne Fuller, Relationship Manager at B Cared For Services