OPP teaching seniors how to avoid scams

Fort Frances OPP Csts. Carolyn Spencer and Dereck McLean will be holding information sessions at seniors’ residences across the district over the next few weeks to warn people about telemarketing and Internet fraud.
“We had a couple of seniors who came close to being victims of telemarketing fraud,” Cst. Spencer said of the reason she and Cst. McLean decided to put together the presentation.
“We’re trying to stop it before it happens, and teach seniors how to protect themselves from telephone and Internet scams,” she added.
Many times, telemarketers will call to say you’ve won a prize, like a TV, car, or vacation. But there’s a catch.
“To claim your prize, you have to donate ‘X’ amount of dollars to this charity. Which, of course, isn’t a charity at all,” Cst. Spencer noted.
In another version of the scam, the telemarketer will tell the victim he or she has to buy a box of pens in order to receive their prize.
“They don’t tell you how much the pens cost, then they charge you $800 for them,” she explained.
Not all scams are over the phone.
Fraudulent offers also can come via fax and the Internet.
A common Internet scam involves a person, usually claiming to be from a foreign country, who has access to an inheritance of several million dollars, but who needs someone to stand in as next-of-kin to get the money.
They promise to share the inheritance with the victim if he or she provides bank account information.
The important thing to remember, Cst. Spencer said, is that no one has to become a victim.
“They can only take from you what you give,” she stressed, adding the best defence is to hang up on the caller or delete the email.
But this is often why seniors are targeted. “They don’t like to be rude to people,” Cst. Spencer explained. “They grew up in a time where a handshake was a contract.
“In general, they are preying on seniors because they are more trusting and vulnerable.”^The pair held an information sessions for seniors in Rainy River last night, and will hold another Monday at 2 p.m. at Green Manor here.
Other sessions are scheduled for Rose Manor, Rainycrest, and the Golden Age Manor (Emo) in the coming weeks.
“We don’t want to see anyone else be victimized,” Cst. Spencer said.