top of page
  • Writer's pictureNatalie Lehr-Splawinski, Marketing Communications

How to protect a senior from fraud & scams?

Unfortunately, seniors have always been targeted for scams & frauds and became even more vulnerable since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Recent research suggests that seniors may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of heightened emotions on decision making.

The current fastest-growing form of elder abuse is financial exploitation in the form of unauthorized bank withdrawals, check fraud, misuse of credit cards, scams and theft of property. Seniors are often selected because they usually have good credit, own a home or condo, have savings, and are trusting. They also are selected because of age-related weaknesses such as:

  • Loneliness

  • Isolation

  • Depression

  • Alzheimer's/Dementia

  • Poor financial situation

  • Lack of judgement

  • Insecurities related to health or social status

  • Being financially insecure and looking for good fortune

Age-related brain changes/cognitive changes & general health decline affect memory in many ways. A senior might not remember or recognize their family and or not be aware of their financial status due to their declining cognitive status. Most seniors are often home during the day to answer the door or phone, they can be more trusting and they may not have family or friends close by to ask for a second opinion. Adult children can be of help to seniors who don't suffer from cognitive decline by expressing their concern. This way is more effective than educating a parent about fraud & scams:

Advise a senior to never:

  • share any personal, financial & password information!

  • open any unfamiliar or unsolicited emails and attachments!

  • click on any links which are included in unknown or suspicious emails!

  • Do not sign an agreement or contract to buy anything due to pressure such that an "offer" is "time limited" and you must decide now.

Phishing emails are scams to obtain your personal or financial information or both under the disguise of a recognized institution or company. Always inspect the URL.

Such an email may claim that you need to update your account or that your tax refund is ready or a well-known charity asking for donations. Go directly to your accounts and don't click on any links.

Some scammers even use health organizations including the World Health Organization to supposedly alert you to COVID-19 exposure and ask you to download important information. It can even be Covid-19 vaccine-related! It is crucial to ask yourself if the email you have received is from a familiar or unexpected source prior to opening it.

How do you ensure that the email sender is not a fraudster and the email is legitimate?

1. Do you recognize the sender’s name, email address, or phone number?

If yes- still look closer! Is the sender:

  • requesting your personal/confidential and financial information?

  • asking you to click on a link or download information?

  • making an urgent request with a deadline

  • promoting an offer too good to be real?

2. Do you notice any disguised or incorrect links in the email

The URLs of phishing emails are slightly altered so be very careful!! Look out for poorly written emails containing many spelling errors.

If you or a loved one receive any concerning phone, mail, or email notifications from companies or government agencies about your accounts, log directly into your accounts to verify.

More safety tips:

  • Shred old bills and statements– best safe disposal of personal information

  • Always be suspicious if someone you don't know asks you to send them money or a cheque, or to return money they "accidentally" sent you.

  • Before hiring anyone to work in or at a seniors home ensure to be asking for proof of identity and references to check them out first.

If you or a loved one should receive any concerning phone, mail, or email notifications from companies or government agencies about your accounts, log directly into your accounts to verify.

  • In phone calls, ask security questions that a fraudster would not be able to answer!

  • When online shopping, verify your seller and look for customer reviews first before providing any financial information.

Below is an important link from the Government of Canada on avoiding phishing scams:

For more helpful information, please visit the Government of Canada website about

Have you become a fraud or scam victim? Below is a helpful link to the Seniors First BC website:


bottom of page