Hold on to your wallet

Stephanie Stein
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Purse-snatching has become more evolved in these times.

The RCMP address senior citizens about how to not fall victim to fraud. Photo: Stephanie Stein

On Friday, Aug 19, the RCMP and the Salvation Army hosted an event about fraud awareness and senior citizens’ safety at the Salvation Army Grace Manor. RCMP representatives provided educational tools and presentations, enabling seniors to better protect themselves from fraudulent schemes and other forms of abuse.

“People will target vulnerable people like the elderly that trust easily. A lot of seniors came from a generation where it was alright to trust people. It’s not the case anymore,” said summer RCMP student, Genevieve Colberson.

It’s the summer student program against crime, where they set up different venues and provide tools to protect against fraud.

“The key is prevention. So if we can give them tips on how to prevent violation by educating them on the current scams, what’s going on, and what they can do to not become victims, then that’s what we’re hoping,” said Cst. Julie Morel of Media Relations.

Tips are offered on how to recognize if you’re being scammed through credit and debit card fraud, and identity theft.  It has been reported by the Canadian Antifraud Centre that $10 billion is lost annually to mass market fraud. Identity theft has taken a hit of $9.4 billion annually. And, $365 million a year is lost to credit card fraud. With chip technology, however, plastics fraud has gone down to $119 million in 2010.

“Sometimes it’s very hard to locate the criminals that’s why the key to this is prevention,” said Morel.  She added, “If violated, they need to report it to their local police.  We can’t investigate something we didn’t know occurred, so not to feel ashamed, and report it.”

In light of prevention, Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) have formed a partnership to prevent elder abuse before it happens. With funding from HRSDC, the CAOT has developed an online resource tool entitled, “Strategies from occupational therapists to address elder abuse/mistreatment.”

“The most prominent abuse that is reported is financial abuse, involving unauthorized withdrawals, sale of property without consent,” said Janet Craik, the elder abuse project and CAOT’s Director of Professional Practice.

The document will be available Nov. 23 for download off the CAOT website by all practicing occupational therapists across Canada. The document facilitates problem solving and encourages therapists to build up a repertoire of resources they can go to in event of a problem.

Organizations: RCMP, Salvation Army, Human Resources Development Canada Canadian Antifraud Centre Canadian Association

Geographic location: Canada

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