Scammers are becoming more sophisticated. They continually adapt the tactics they use to separate Canadians from their money.
According to Kevin Purkiss, vice president of fraud management with RBC, one recent trend involves fraudsters “coaching” potential victims, especially older adults.
“Over the last year we have seen an increase in the number of fraud victims who’ve been coached on how to lie to loved ones, bank employees or financial advisors about why they are withdrawing funds and what the money will be used for,” says Purkiss. “Ultimately, the scammer’s goal is to make it tougher to spot the signs of a scam until it’s too late.”
Even when Canadians realize they’ve been a victim of fraud and confront the perpetrator, the scam may not be over. Fraudsters are now contacting their victims days after being confronted. They impersonate law enforcement, a lawyer or a government agency and offer to help get their money back for a fee.
Fraud targeting older adults is on the rise
While anyone at any age can fall victim to a scam, fraud targeting older adults is on the rise. And that’s a concern for many of us as we all spend more time online.
In fact, 86 per cent of respondents to a 2022 RBC survey say they’re worried fraudsters will increasingly target seniors as they are online more. There has also been a greater number of online scams and phishing attempts against seniors.
Fortunately, there are many simple steps you can take to help you stay safe online.
- Be aware that fraudsters may pose as government or bank staff, family members, law enforcement or other trusted people. Never give out money or sensitive information to a caller, by text or by email. If you’re not sure about something, call a family member, your financial advisor or your bank.
- Never click on a link or download an attachment from an unknown source. Even if it looks to be legitimate, verify the sender before taking any action.
- Keep your information secure by using strong, unique passwords and passphrases; and ensure your anti-virus software and internet browser are always up to date.
- When online, don’t enter login information or credit card details unless you are sure the site is legitimate. Red flags include poor grammar or spelling errors, a URL that doesn’t match the company’s main site or a lack of a security lock symbol in the address bar.
- When shopping online, remember that an offer too good to be true usually is. Trust your instincts, ask questions, do your research and be extra cautious.
- Social media provides fraudsters with a large pool of potential victims. Be mindful of the personal information you post online and take advantage of privacy settings.
- Stay connected to your finances and set up alerts for suspicious activity on your bank account or credit card.
Find more tips here.