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Safeguarding our seniors by uniting against scams and fraud

Fraudsters often target seniors, preying on their feelings of trust and goodwill
We all need to be vigilant and play a part in protecting seniors from falling victim to scams and fraudsters. (Photo credit: Alzheimer Society of B.C.)

Elvenia Gray-Sandiford

As our society grapples with the pervasive issue of scams and fraud, it’s a sobering reality that this problem poses a significant threat to our senior population. Those who are isolated or lack connections with friends and family are disproportionately vulnerable and can become easy targets for deceptive schemes. This stark truth underscores the pressing need for collective action to shield our elderly population from the exploitation of their trust and vulnerability.

Fraud schemes targeting seniors come in various forms, ranging from health product scams, home repair cons, telemarketing scams, and romance scams to the AI voices of family members who are supposed to be in trouble or locked up and need money to come home. Each is designed to deceive and defraud unsuspecting victims. These and other schemes prey on the trust and goodwill of older individuals, taking advantage of their desire for companionship and assistance.

Conditions such as social isolation and a lack of wariness in business dealings can further exacerbate the risk faced by seniors, making them more susceptible to falling victim to fraudulent practices. Beyond financial loss, seniors who have fallen prey to fraud and scams may encounter emotional and health ramifications, feelings of anger and shame, nervousness, remorse, sadness, and powerlessness.

Combating fraud targeting seniors requires a collective effort from all members of society. Family members, caregivers, and community organizations must remain vigilant and proactive in educating seniors about the risks of fraud and empowering them to take steps to protect themselves. Simple measures such as asking for help to verify the legitimacy of businesses and individuals before making financial transactions, safeguarding personal information, and staying informed about common scams can significantly reduce the likelihood of falling victim to fraud.

Policymakers and law enforcement agencies must prioritize investigating and prosecuting fraudsters targeting seniors, ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable for their actions. Enhanced regulatory measures and consumer protection laws can also help strengthen safeguards against fraudulent practices and provide recourse for victims.

As Canadians, it is our collective responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of our senior population. If you suspect a senior is experiencing any form of financial abuse, there are resources available to assist them.

- The Seniors Abuse Information Line (SAIL) from Seniors First BC offers older adults general information about elder abuse and provides a safe space to discuss potential abuse or mistreatment. B.C. residents can contact SAIL at (604) 437-1940 or 1-866-437-1940 (toll-free).

- The Government of B.C. provides resources for protection from elder abuse or neglect. Visit for more information.

- The Legal Services Society can be reached at (604) 408-2172 or toll-free at 1-866-577-2525. Visit their website at for legal assistance.

- If you believe the abuse constitutes a criminal matter, contact the RCMP or local police on their non-emergency line. You can also call VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808 for information and referral services if you are a victim of a crime.

By working together to raise awareness, provide support, and implement proactive measures, we can protect our seniors from falling victim to scams and fraud, allowing them to enjoy their golden years with dignity, security, and peace of mind. Let us stand united in our commitment to keeping our seniors safe and secure from harm.