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Elder Care – Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing – Part 4

Last week we talked about two scams that operated over the telephone. In those cases a senior can simply hang up but what happens when someone arrives at the elderly person’s home. Often a scammer will present themself as a public utility inspector or a even a person in need. The homeowner will receive a knock on the front door and be confronted by two people. They identify themselves as

Home Support Senior victim of door scams

inspectors for the utility or gas company. They ask for entry into the senior’s home and often they will flash an ID card very quickly. So quickly that the senior will barely have time to read it. Once inside, one person will ask to be directed to the gas meter or the electrical panel and the other person will ask to use a washroom or the telephone. While the senior is kept busy, the scammer will be stealing. It could be a purse, a wallet or even a bottle of medication. Sometimes the theft is discovered quickly but often the scammer is more subtle and even if they don’t take anything they could be casing the seniors house for a future robbery.

This is a very intimidating situation for an elderly person. But if the senior is prepared they can avoid being victimized in this way.

  • ALWAYS be very cautious and careful when answering the door especially if there is more than one person there.
  • ALWAYS demand identification and ask the person to wait outside while you check it. If you have any doubt, hand it back to them, and close the door and lock it immediately.
  • DO NOT LET THEM IN! Call the utility company to confirm the reason for this visit. If they are legitimate inspectors, they will wait. If they aren’t, they’ll leave in a big hurry.

Recently in Langley, an old scam has resurfaced. This one is particularly difficult to deal with because, like the grandchild in trouble scam it tugs at the heartstrings of the elderly person. The scammer comes to the door with a ‘tale of woe’. They say that they need hot water to warm their baby’s bottle or they need to warm up their baby’s food in your microwave. Police are warning that under no circumstances should the senior allow this person entry. Another version is a person or persons will ask for water for a leaking radiator. Beware of these wolves in sheep’s clothing because once inside they could steal the senior’s wallet or purse. Now the senior must cancel credit cards, renew their driver’s license and care cards and more. Worst of all now the elder is at risk for Identity theft. We will discuss this next week. Until then, make sure that you and your elderly parents don’t open the door to strangers. Crooks know that elderly people and seniors are vulnerable so be savvy and be safe!

Lilianne Fuller, Relationship Manager at B Cared For Services

Elder Care – Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing – Part 3

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 Home Support Senior Don't become a victim of telephone scams - Fraud Scam Prevention - Langley Surrey White Rock Abbotsfordweeks 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!

Elder Abuse Elder Care - Senior Support Home Support Services - Langley Surrey Abbotsford

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

Elder Care – Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing – Part 2

Last week we talked about a scam called The Pigeon Drop. That scam is just one of many that fraudsters will use to dupe their senior victims. This week we will talk about a particularly heartbreaking scam, The Grandchild in Trouble. The Grandchild in Trouble Scheme is particularly troubling because it tugs on the heart strings of the elderly person. It is international in scope and has recently surfaced in Langley.

Scammers have no conscience and they will prey on seniors. They are always looking for ways to make their elderly victims part with their money.

Seniors targeted by pretend grandchild in distress scam

They know that today’s seniors may have grandchildren scattered throughout Langley, British Columbia or even across the country. Seniors and elderly people want to help their family members and these pros know all the tricks. Unfortunately the crooks don’t get caught very often because of the elderly person’s embarrassment at being taken advantage of and most of the time the senior will not even report the crime.

This scam starts with a disturbing telephone call from the alleged grandson or granddaughter who is in trouble. They have been arrested and need money for bail. The scammer will cry in distress and beg their elderly grandparent not to contact their parents. They are afraid that they will get in more trouble. When the senior agrees to help them they will give a number to them so they can call to post bail. This call will be answered by someone pretending to be a lawyer or police officer and the victim will be asked to use a money wire to send the bail money which is sometimes in the thousands of dollars. Canadian Police agencies do not contact individuals for bail money nor do they use money wire services.

Seniors targeted by pretend grandchild in distress scam warning - Langley Surrey White Rock Abbotsford

To avoid being taken advantage of, the first thing to do is to take your time and keep your head. Ask for the name of the lawyer or police officer and write down the number they tell you. BUT under no circumstances call that number! If you have call display write down the incoming number. Tell the caller you will do what they ask and hang up. Next, call your son or daughter to determine the whereabouts of their children. Once you’ve determined that your family is safe and sound call the police and report the incident. If you are unnerved about this, ask your family member or a neighbour to help you. The police understand that this process is hard on an elderly person so when they send an office to take your statement they will be accompanied by a trained victim services worker. This worker will help you deal with the trauma and make sure that you will be cared for.

Like my sister said, getting old isn’t for sissies but as a savvy senior you will be prepared to deflect any and all scams that might come your way. Watch this space, next week we will be discussing a new twist on the numbers game: The lottery scam.

Lilianne Fuller, Relationship Manager at B Cared For Services

6 Forms of Elderly Abuse you need to Recognize

How You Can Recognize Abuse Abuse happens in different ways, and usually becomes worse if there is no help of some kind. Older adults often experience more than one form of abuse. All abuse is serious and causes harm.

1. Financial Abuse
My granddaughter moved in with me some time ago. I asked her to leave because she used my bank card to take money from my account a couple of times. She said she has no place to go. I feel guilty and let her stay, but I am afraid she will do it again. My younger sister lives with me since her husband died. I have worked hard and saved money for many years. She has threatened to end our relationship if I don’t write a new will that leaves all of my savings to her.
Last week, my son-in-law asked me to sign a power of attorney so that he could help with my affairs. He disagrees with the way I manage my money, and I have heard him tell my daughter that he thinks I am getting senile. I am a little afraid of him.

It is financial abuse if somebody tricks, threatens, or persuades older adults out of their money, property or possessions. Sometimes the abuser might influence or force the abused to change their will, sign a power of attorney, or the abuser might cash cheques without their knowledge.

2. Psychological Abuse 

I don’t have a big family and have outlived most of  my friends. My niece is the only family member I see regularly. She says I’m lazy and should be thankful
that she takes time to visit me. My husband controls my every move. He tells me I am “too stupid” to make decisions or handle money. He won’t let me see my friends anymore. My wife laughs at me in front of people because I can’t manage zippers and buttons without her help. She tells people that I am “worse than a child” and that she would never let herself be so helpless.

It is psychological abuse if somebody threatens, insults, intimidates or humiliates an older adult, treats the person like a child, or does not allow them to see their family and friends.

3. Spiritual or Religious Abuse

My daughter-in-law tells me that my spiritual tradition is “ridiculous” and she has convinced my son not to let my grandchildren come to ceremony with me any longer. My children are angry that I have made some large donations to a religious organization I support. I have overheard them say that they should “do something” to keep me away from the “religious fanatics.” These people are not fanatics—they are my friends.

My brother doesn’t want me to go to church anymore. I am afraid to disobey him, but the fellowship and my faith are important to me.

It is spiritual or religious abuse when someone limits or restricts the spiritual practices, customs or traditions of an older adult. Abuse also includes using an older adult’s beliefs to exploit the person, attacking the person’s beliefs, or not allowing the person to participate in religious events and activities.

4. Sexual Abuse

My husband has always been very controlling. He has never hit me, but lately he pressures me for sex. He won’t let me sleep until I give in. My neighbour is a widower who brings my groceries because we both live so far out of town. Since my husband died he has started hugging and touching me even though I ask him not to. He calls it his “delivery fee.”

My nephew and his girlfriend live with me. They have sex anywhere they please and don’t close the door even when I am home. I have asked them repeatedly to be more private, but they laugh at me and call me a prude.

It is sexual abuse if somebody forces an older adult to engage in sexual activity. This may include verbal or suggestive behaviour, not respecting personal privacy, and sexual intercourse.

5. Neglect

My son suffered a brain injury when he was young and he has lived with me his whole life. He does help more now that I am no longer able to get around very well, but my daughter expects him to do everything and he just can’t. She lives nearby but is very busy. I haven’t been able to get out for groceries for over a week this time. My friend and I have lived together for ten years. My knees are bad and I haven’t been able to share the chores of the house recently. She is angry about this and refuses to clean my part of the house or prepare food for me. She hasn’t spoken to me in three weeks. I don’t speak English very well and have no one else to talk to.

I live in the basement of my brother’s house. He is very successful and travels a lot. When he goes away he locks me in. He says he is afraid that I will wander off. Even though he leaves food and things to read, I get very depressed if he is gone for more than a couple of days.

Neglect occurs when someone withholds care, food and/or emotional support that an older adult is unable to provide for himself or herself. Sometimes people providing are do not have the necessary knowledge, experience or ability.

 

6. Physical Abuse

My husband pulls my hair when he is angry and yells that I don’t listen to him. He has always yelled at me, but he never used to hurt me. I am not as independent as I used to be. I need help with certain tasks. My daughter helps me, but I am ashamed to admit that sometimes she shakes me and even hits me. My younger brother and I live together. He has  always had a temper. Recently when he was drinking, he pushed me against the wall a couple of times.

It is physical abuse if somebody hits an older adult or handles the person roughly, even if there is no injury.

This information is provided through a public education campaign, provided by the Canadian Government through a ‘Neighborhood, Friends and Families‘ website.