Monday, October 19, 2015

Thoughts on Elder Abuse

Today is voting day in Canada, if you are eligible to vote, make sure that you do. This is an important election for Canadians and for those of us who want to protect our seniors.

 There are many kinds of elder abuse:
• Financial
• Physical
• Psychological or emotional
• Sexual
• Spiritual
• Institutional
• Neglect
• Chemical (medications

Financial abuse is one of many kinds of abuse. Sometimes an adult who is being financially abused is a victim of other forms of abuse by the same person or others.

Many Seniors fall victim to Fraud or Scams so what is the difference between the two terms?

The two words Fraud and Scams,  can be used interchangeably, to refer to the same thing. “Fraud” is the name of a criminal offense in the Criminal Code of Canada, while “scam” is a more casual popular expression for a consumer rip-off. Both mean that a consumer is being cheated somehow—through overpricing, paying for a service or product that is not actually delivered, or other means.

Some of the most common types of Frauds & Scams that Seniors fall prey to that cheat them out of their money are:
• Money Transfers
• Emergency Scams
• New Best Friend
• Sweepstakes/Lotteries
• Health & Medical Scams
• Home Renovations
• Fake Charities

These are some common strategies used:
MONEY TRANSFERS – People can receive an email or letter from a scammer asking your help to transfer a large amount of money overseas. You are then offered a share of the money if you agree to give them your bank account details to help with the transfer.

EMERGENCY SCAMS – This scam targets grandparents and play upon their emotions to rob them of their money. A senior receives a phone call from a scammer claiming to be one of his/her grandchildren. Callers go on to say that they are in some kind of trouble and need money immediately.

NEW BEST FRIEND – Isolated people are often the most vulnerable to being taken advantage of financially.

SWEEPSTAKES/LOTTERIES – You should be suspicious if you are told that you won something that you never entered yourself for. Often, scammers will tell you that you have won a prize and need only to pay the taxes or the shipping charges to receive it. These charges are large and you may never receive the item. 

You should never have to pay money to collect a prize. Do not give your credit card number or other personal details to a person claiming to be offering you a prize.

HEALTH & MEDICAL SCAMS – Medical scams offer solutions to where none exist or promise to simplify complex health treatments.

HOME RENOVATIONS – A common scam targeting older adults. Scammers will knock on doors and offer to do home repairs “at a special price.” 

Another door-to-door scam is selling items that might be useless to you—such as heavy, overpriced vacuum cleaners. If you are thinking of buying an item or paying for some repairs to your home, it is best not to make a decision on the spot but to get the contact information for the business, then look it up on the Better Business Bureau to check whether it is legitimate. You may also want to check the prices offered by similar businesses. 
FAKE CHARITIES – People are asked for donations to often fake charities or by a scammer impersonating a real charity (door-to-door or by phone).

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