How Okanagan seniors can outsmart scammers

Protecting your personal ID and banking information is critical

Tugging at your personal heart strings and pressure to respond to inquiries immediately are the two favourite tactics for scammers.

While social media has opened up opportunities for scammers to pilfer your personal banking information, Interior Saving Credit Union’s manager of risk management, Paula Naka, said earning a scam target’s trust is a major part of their plan in ripping someone off.

“They are very good at what they do,” Naka said of scammers. “They are playing on your instincts to help, to the point of pretending to be a friend or a relative, muffling or altering their voice so you think they are who they claim to be in the moment.”

Naka along with Kelowna RCMP Const. Ann Donnelly were the guest speakers at a public forum about scam protection for seniors held in West Kelowna on Monday.

The forum is part of the 5th annual Okanagan Embrace Aging Month series of public presentations throughout March about lifestyle issues facing seniors.

Every year Canadians lose millions of dollars to activities of scammers who bombard us with online, mail, door-to-door and telephone scams.

Naka and Donnelly imparted the importance to protect your personal banking and identification information from anyone you don’t know, whether it be door-to-door salespeople, social media contacts or phone inquiries.

“Know who you are dealing with and never rush into any decision where your personal identification is required,” Naka said.

“We are telling you to be skeptical and not trust anyone you don’t know, but unfortunately in this day and age it is how you have to go about your business,” added Donnelly.

Related: Jay Ingram to speak about Alzheimer’s

From an online protection perspective, Naka said seniors should keep their computer software up to date; use strong passwords that are changed on a regular basis; use firewalls and anti-virus software to protect your personal data; use privacy settings such as Messenger rather than communicating openly on Facebook; and set up security alerts.

And both added that account passwords need to be written down somewhere, but that information should be stored away from your computer.

Dumpster diving is an age-old scam tactic for retrieving information, sometimes made easier in the recycling world where paper is separated from food waste.

“We still get a lot of information by mail so everything you throw away should be properly shredded or cut up before being thrown out. I can’t stress that enough,” Naka said.

The urgency phone call—a relative who needs money, a family friend who is in legal trouble, Canada Revenue Agency calling for an immediate payment—are scenarios that constantly probe people with the idea of retrieving personal data or wire money transfers.

“If you get scammed, you are put on what we call a sucker’s list, and chances are you will be hit again,” Donnelly said.

Naka noted it’s important to contact the police if you feel you’ve been victimized.

“Report it to the police right away. There is no need to feel embarrassed. You have been conned by someone who is being paid to con you. These people are good at what they’re doing, ” she said.

The golden rules to help you beat scammers

  • Always get independent advice if an offer involves money, personal information time or commitment.
  • There are not guaranteed get-rich-quick schemes—if it sounds too good to be true it generally is.
  • Do not agree to offers or deals right away.
  • Check the credentials of an individual or company before handing over any money or personal information.
  • Log directly on to a website that you are interested in rather than clicking on links provided in an email.
  • Never send money, or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.
  • If you become aware of a scam or have been scammed, get help—contact the local police, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (www.antifraudcentre.ca, 1-888-495-8501) or the Competition Bureau Information Centre (www.competitionbureau.gc.ca, 1-800-348-5358).

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Traffic into Penticton Public Library slows, attributed to safety concerns

Foot traffic into the Penticton Public Library is down four per cent,… Continue reading

Star Gazing: Binoculars on the Christmas list

Advice on buying a gift for the astronomer on your list

Independent Investigations Office seeks witnesses following arrest in Penticton

The male resisted arrest at approximately 8:40 a.m. and sustained a head injury

City of Penticton records all-time high for fatal overdoses

Seventeen people have fatally overdosed so far this year

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen directors to receive pay increase

Increase of 11.9 per cent to offset changes to taxation for elected officials

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

EDITORIAL: Reflecting on a tragedy, 30 years later

While the Montreal Massacre made headlines because of its scale, gender-based violence is not new

Weak link in Sagmoen trial, defence says

Counsel questions whether search warrant police executed was obtained on reasonable grounds

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

North Okanagan MP says throne speech lacked specifics

‘Trudeau government presented a vague agenda,’: MP Mel Arnold

‘She was awesome’: Malakwa baker leaves U.S. holiday show

‘There are Christmas miracles, look at me’

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Letter: Examining the cause of anti-Semitism

“I was surprised to read how religious some in Penticton must be given the recent two letters”

Most Read