EDITORIAL: Scams abound in the region

These scam artists specifically target the elderly.

Almost every week we receive phone calls from Victoria and Esquimalt residents, complaining about the latest computer or telephone scam.

Many of us have become wise to the ploys, and disregard the emails and phone calls. But clearly the scams still work, to a certain degree, or they would not continue to be used.

Most email services are very good at detecting the electronic scam artists, sending such letters directly to the junk pile.

All that said, with the aging population in Greater Victoria, it is worth the reminder.

These scam artists specifically target the elderly.

Why?

Because the elderly are easy prey. They are typically more naive when it comes to computer knowledge, and thereby more likely to believe that an email sent to their address is indeed a call out to them, from a long-lost relative in Nigeria.

To the younger generation, that may sound gullible. But the elders in our society were raised in a more honest environment; where if someone asked for help, you believed they needed help. In many ways, it’s an enviable attitude, and one that is fading fast.

So, here are a few tips to our elderly neighbours – a few red flags to watch out for, when considering who is asking for your help.

1.) When checking your email, disregard anything from Nigeria, Somalia, or any other country, unless you have direct relations with said country, and recognize the name of the sender.

2.) You did not win any money from a foreign lottery. The oldest marketing line in lotteries applies here: You can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket. And you did not buy a ticket.

3.) That service call from Telus, warning you that your computer has been hacked is not a service call from Telus. This scam is not only the most prevalent, currently; but also the easiest to dismiss. Telus does not make unsolicited service calls. You call them if you have a problem.

So, the next time “Telus” or “B.C. Hydro” or “Revenue Canada” calls you to tell you your computer has been hacked, follow these steps:

1.) Put them on hold.

2.) Go for lunch.

They will be gone by the time you return.

 

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