Fraud Prevention and Awareness

The Beginnings of Courageous Conversations

Courageous Conversations – you may be wondering what they are.  Well back in March, an idea came to Laila Yuile of Classic Life Care in Comox, BC to provide information and a forum for caregivers and seniors to ask questions of knowledgeable resources in the community.  She invited a couple of such resources to her office for the first Courageous Caregiver Conversations session and then we joined Comox Valley Senior Support Services in providing monthly education sessions. We changed our name to Courageous Conversations; and moved the sessions to a larger venue.  Each month one of the four resources: Comox Valley Senior Support Services (Chris), Classic Life Care (Laila), Keystone Eldercare Solutions (Valerie) and Alongside Caregiver Consulting (me) takes the lead in bringing in speakers or personally addressing the topic scheduled for that month.  We are a team and we work collaboratively, supporting the lead for the month.  

Fraud Prevention for Seniors

My turn to lead came this November and I’d like to provide a little recap on the Event and its topic: “Fraud Prevention for Seniors”.

My day started with picking up mini donuts from Bigfoot Donuts on 5th Street in Courtenay.  Now these mini donuts did not disappoint.  When I opened the box there were multiple varieties of donuts representative of the regular-sized donuts that Bigfoot provides.  Even the minis were a decent size!  It was a wise decision to bring donuts!

As a collective we did a great job promoting the event.  We even had a newspaper article covering the upcoming event.  So, when I arrived at the venue there were people already waiting for the 10:30 a.m. start. Then more people were arriving and before long there was a line down the hallway and around the corner.  We needed more chairs!  This was a great turnout.  By 10:30 folks were still trickling in.  As we had 3 presenters scheduled, strict time adherence was necessary.  I started with introductions of the Courageous Conversations team members.  Then I introduced the guest presenters. 

Social Worker Perspective

We had a social worker provide information on the impact of frauds and scams as well as the complicating factor when capacity enters the equation – all from a social work perspective.  We learned about the helpful resource of NIDUS – the personal planning registry in B.C. where folks can access resources, information, and required forms for Representation Agreements both for health and finances. 

Phishing, Vishing and Smishing (RCMP Presentation)

Then we had a presentation from a member of the Federal Policing Prevention and Engagement Unit. He provided information to help protect us from scams.  We learned about Phishing, Vishing, Smishing – all ways fraudsters attempt to hook a victim.  He provided a few basic tips for us to remember:

  • When you get a phone call that is suspicious – hang up.
  • If it’s on your cell phone – mark it as spam; do not follow links within a message.
  • If you do become a victim of fraud contact the local RCMP and Victim Services;
  • and if you recognized it as a scam in time – report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre , which incidentally has a very informative website.
  • Create strong, multi-charactered passwords – consisting of 16 characters!

Our presenter shared statistics that were astounding.  What was even more astounding is that it is believed that only 5% of victims report being defrauded.  There are so many creative schemes out there. We heard details of how to protect ourselves in Dating and Romance Scams, Emergency Scams, Extortion and Bank Investigator Scams.  

By this time, we had been sitting a long time, but the audience was captivated by the information.  We took a much-needed break and those who hadn’t had a donut headed to the back.  Before long, the delicacies had all disappeared.   

Bank of Canada Security Features

Chatter, discussions, and questions were heard throughout the room, but it was time to get back to business.  The 3rd and final presenter was a currency analyst from the Bank of Canada.  With his expertise we learned about the security features within our bank notes. We learned how to be a detective to see if a note is counterfeit or not.  More questions were generated and skillfully answered.  By the end of the session, we were out of time and as some folks were heading out, others remained, hoping to speak to the presenters.

Helpful Information

This session definitely delivered helpful information regarding fraud prevention for seniors. If you were able to join us – please share what you learned with others.  For those who weren’t able to attend, but know someone who did, please ask them questions. They may have brought home some of the handouts.

Courageous Conversations is held the fourth Tuesday of each month, and the next Courageous Conversations Event is January 23rd, 2024 and our topic is “Dementia”. Please join us!

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