While all Canadians need to be alert and aware when it comes to fraud, seniors are especially vulnerable to scams and schemes. Because older adults tend to have more discretionary income and can be more trusting and less mobile, fraudsters with friendly faces or kind voices might find it easier to strike up a conversation or access key information. Two main things to watch for are identity theft and theft by power of attorney.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as your name or social insurance number, or your credit card to access money, obtain passports and apply for loans or government benefits. To protect yourself: Shred paper bills and statements, don’t talk to strangers, put a lock on the outside of your mail box and never give anyone your personal information.
Theft by power of attorney
Theft by power of attorney is when an individual you have assigned to take care of your finances abuses his or her position. Theft by power of attorney might involve stealing money from your pension, taking out a second mortgage or using your credit cards for personal purposes. Speak to your bank before you give anyone your PIN and, if you are able, set up online banking so you can monitor your transactions and accounts yourself. If you suspect your accounts or identity have been compromised, contact your bank immediately.