Marteny: Preying on vulnerable people
Unfortunately, fraud will be with us forever. Even more unfortunate, fraud is usually aimed at our most vulnerable people, which include seniors.
However, the Kelowna RCMP, led by the efforts of Cst. Steve Holmes, media relations officer, and Cst. Ann Donnelly, fraud investigator, have partnered with my consulting firm to create a campaign to make seniors and their families aware of how to watch for fraud.
The campaign will allow seniors and their families to read about the various frauds that are always making the rounds.
In addition, it will make people alert to new frauds that are coming our way.
My columns will include details about fraud schemes that Cst. Holmes and Cst. Donnelly need the public to know about.
As part of the campaign, the constables and I will be speaking to groups who want to learn more about fraud, in particular fraud aimed at seniors.
These presentations will assist people living in gated seniors communities, supportive housing residences, families of seniors and service organizations.
Anyone who has a connection to seniors or who wants to be aware of what the fraudsters are up to would benefit from this information.
The presentations will include an overview of various fraud schemes, how to identify them, what to do about it and how to notify the police.
Part of the presentation will be to help people learn how to realize that a fraud has occurred and for the people to not feel that it was their fault.
It is imperative to immediately let others know about the fraud.
Families need to help their parents recognize if they might be involved in a fraud scheme and how to inform their families to watch out for it.
Often, after people realize that they have been defrauded, they are too embarrassed to admit it.
This is exactly what the fraudsters want. The longer the fraud goes without detection, then additional people can be scammed.
The fraud is done quickly before the victim has time to think about it or discuss it with someone else.
For the publics’ safety they have to be familiar with how fraud works.
The schemes are always clever and unique and can easily draw in a victim.
Just remember the acronym SCAM stands for:
S is for Safe. If you give in to one of these frauds, would you be worse off for having done it?
C is for Credible. Does the person, who is trying to convince you, have any credibility that can be verified?
A is for Aggressive. Is the scammer using an aggressive tactic, or language, that requires an immediate or imperative response?
M is for Motive. Is their motive to deprive you of money or assets (banking information), with a promise of reward?
Keep your money and credit safe from thieves.
‘Do not tell them what they want to hear.
If you are interested in having a presentation, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharen Marteny is a services consultant for seniors in Kelowna.