March 27, 2012, Halifax, Nova Scotia…As part of Fraud Prevention Month, the RCMP and the Department of Seniors would like to remind the public to be aware of some common ways criminals target senior citizens.
“We are seeing more complex scams nowadays that can catch even the most cautious person off guard, and often target our seniors,” says Sgt. Tom Murdock, RCMP Atlantic Region Counterfeit Coordinator. “Telephone and internet scams allow fraudsters to prey on anyone, any time of day. The best way to protect you and your family is to know how to recognize these scams.”
Some common scams police see in Nova Scotia include:
Citizens receive a call from someone claiming to represent a large computer software company. The caller then tells the victim they have detected a problem on their computer. The victim is directed to get on their computer and follow a list of instructions that are supposed to correct the problem. Investigators believe that by following the instructions, the suspect gains remote access to the computer, including all personal information.
Any false, deceptive or misleading promotion of services or solicitation for services. These scams typically involve third parties that make offers for telecommunications, internet, finance, medical and energy services.
Consumers are told they have been specially selected to win a prize, or have been awarded one of three or two of five prizes. These prizes usually include cash or a vehicle. You must purchase a product and pay in advance to receive your prize. You may also encounter the “sweepstakes scam”. After entering a fake sweepstakes contest in the mail, you will receive a call within two to four weeks from a fraudulent telemarketer. This person will usually identify themselves as a lawyer, judge, customs agent or other official. They will represent themselves as an agent for a particular company. You will be told that you have won a large cash award, but money must be sent up front for taxes, etc.
Emergency or “Grandparent” Scam
In the typical scenario, a grandparent receives a phone call from a con-artist claiming to be one of his or her grandchildren. The caller goes on to say that they are in some kind of trouble and need money immediately. Typically they claim being in a car accident, trouble returning from a foreign country or they need bail money.
“We know seniors are often targets of these scams. It’s important to be cautious when contacted about something that sounds too good to be true or creates that inkling of doubt,” says Denise Peterson-Rafuse, Minister of Seniors.
For more information on these scams, please visit www.antifraudcentre.ca and http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/index-eng.htm
To learn more about Partners Against Fraud, visit http://www.gov.ns.ca/seniors/partners_against_fraud.asp .
March is Fraud Prevention Month, and the RCMP want to encourage people to learn as much as they can about these and other types of fraud, because one of the best ways to protect against fraud is to learn how to recognize it.