Those who commit fraud and scams don’t just target people who have a lot of money.
They may steal a small amount from many people to be discreet. They use a variety of ways to reach people, including the Internet, phone calls and even door-to-door visits.
Seniors are often targeted because they tend to be trusting and polite. They also usually have financial savings, own a home, and have good credit—all of which make them attractive to scammers.
Common Scams in Victoria
Phone calls claiming tax evasion have increased significantly in Victoria. The most common claim is from a number in Ottawa with area code: 613-800-9167 extension 335. Never give your personal information over the phone such as your SIN number.
Callers will claim that they are affiliated with either Microsoft or Apple and that they can remove a virus from the users computer. The caller is then asked for their credit card information in order to “install antivirus software”. Please seek the assistance of local and reputable computer repair companies. Do not have their computers serviced by phone or over the internet.
Cleaning and Duct Cleaning Scams – These scammers are offering duct cleaning services to protect you and your family from COVID-19 or special air filters which supposedly offer protection against the virus.
Utility Company Scams – Scammers threaten to disconnect your service for non-payment and require you to go out and buy prepaid cards and then call the “company” back with the gift card numbers. Whatever you do, don’t panic. Instead, stop and think: Why would your local utility company want to be paid in gift cards? Never give out your utility account number or other financial information to unsolicited callers.
Public Health Agency of Canada Scam – A scammer will email people saying you have tested positive for COVID-19. People are then being tricked into confirming their health card number and credit card number, so they can be provided a prescription. Government agencies and other legitimate agencies WILL NOT ask for this personal information via email or phone.
The average loss in scams targeted at seniors
If you are ever in doubt, hang up the phone and look up the companies main number. It is also a good idea to ask a family member, friend or neighbour if you are unsure.