Vancouver Island is hardly immune to an ever-increasing number of seniors being targeted by frauds and scams.
In response, the BC RCMP Federal Policing Prevention and Engagement (FPPE) team launched a proactive community outreach campaign to prevent seniors from falling victim.
Based on recent reports from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and a rise in financial crime complaints to police, it’s evident that criminals continue targeting B.C. seniors through several forms of scams such as the “Emergency/Grandparent,” “Extortion,” “Bank Investigator,” and “Prize” scams, an RCMP press release says.
For emergency or grandparent scams, suspects contact seniors, claiming a family member or grandchild was involved in an incident, or criminally charged with an offence, and that a fee or fine would be required for the release of the family member.
Extortion scams often use recorded messages where the fraudsters claim to be a representative of a federal government entity, or a major organization, and that the victim’s social insurance number or other personal information has been linked to a crime. The scammers then demand a payment with the threat of arrest or imprisonment, and may request other personal information that could be used for further identity theft.
Criminals use bank investigator scams to contact the victim claiming to be a financial institution, or a credit card company representative who is investigating unauthorized activity on their account, and request details about the victim’s credit card, bank account, or online banking login information.
The prize scam is especially common. The scammer informs the victims that they have won a lottery or sweepstake, even though they had not entered to win, or purchased a ticket at any point. The victim is then told to make a required upfront prize collection, or tax payment in order for the winnings to be released.
The B.C. RCMP FPPE works closely with other RCMP Federal Policing units, external partner agencies, and members of the community to identify emerging crime trends, and takes a preventative approach by providing information and resources that would assist in identifying, and taking measures to avoid becoming victims of existing and emerging criminal threats.
B.C. RCMP FPPE’s Cpl. Vinh Ngo and the Bank of Canada’s Western Regional Representative, Farid Salji have been coordinating anti-fraud webinars online throughout the pandemic, and more recently in-person seminars, for various community groups.
“Although BC RCMP Federal Policing is involved in combatting the most serious criminal threats facing Canadians, we also work hard to stay connected to our communities and take a proactive approach to preventing crime by providing education and resources directly to the public,” says Superintendent Anick Pasqua, Officer in Charge of the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime - Operational Support program (FSOC - OSG).
While criminals continue to devise new approaches to target seniors and other vulnerable sectors, the members of the BC RCMP Federal Policing Prevention and Engagement are relentless in their pursuit to identify, and prevent crime through actively engaging with their partners and members of the community.
For more information on frauds and scams, visit the BC RCMP Frauds and Scams resource page or go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website. If you have been a target of a suspected scam, contact your local police agency, and report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501, or online by way of the Fraud Reporting System.