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How to Protect Yourself Against Scams

SUSAN FISHER & TAMMY ADAMS


Seniors are very often targets of phone and internet scams. Scammers know young people likely have student debts and little to no savings to speak of. Still, they also know seniors: likely have investments, assets, considerable savings, tend to be trusting of people, and sometimes suffer from cognitive impairments affiliated with aging. Therefore, seniors become the perfect targets for scammers.


Our senior population didn’t grow up with the technology our children and grandchildren find commonplace today. They didn’t grow up with the internet, Facebook or email, and therefore they may not fully understand how to use technology safely, and can potentially be easily fooled. Scammers tend to “pull on the heartstrings” by pretending to be a family member in trouble who needs money, or who may “want to help” by doing something seemingly kind, like fixing the senior's computer.

How can we protect our senior population from these scammers, whose only purpose is to take advantage of people, for their own personal gain?


Here are a few ways we can help:

1. Educate your parents or grandparents about current scams. Talk to them about not giving out any personal information to people they don’t know, even to those who seem well-meaning.

2. Reassure them they can come to you without judgment, if they do end up becoming a victim of a scam. Some people may be embarrassed or ashamed to admit they fell for a scam, but it can happen easily, and there is nothing to be ashamed of.

3. Check-in with your parents or grandparents frequently; spark conversation about who they’ve been in touch with and watch for anything unusual or out of place.

4. Let your parents or grandparents know, as soon as you hear of a new scam, and remind them to guard their personal information. Reassure them they can come to you if they are unsure if something is legitimate or not.

5. Educate your elderly family and friends about the safe use of computers and electronics. Help them to decipher a trusted site versus a scam. Many seniors get fooled online by pop-ups which appear to be from a legitimate source but, in actuality, are scammers trying to steal their personal information.

Checking websites, such as the Anti Fraud Centre through the Government of Canada, can help you to identify scams. Addresses such as:

https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm or https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/fraud-scams.html or https://www.ontario.ca/page/report-scam-or-fraud are valuable resources through the Government of Ontario. These websites have up-to-date information on current scams, how to protect yourself, and information on what to do if you fall victim to a scam.


Tammy and Susan run Silver Lights Senior Services, a family-owned and operated seniors’ homecare company, serving the City of Kawartha Lakes, Port Perry and Uxbridge. The dementia-specific Adult Day Program is now open in Lindsay! Find them on Facebook and Instagram or visit their website, at www.silverlightsseniorservices.com.

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