Seniors Outreach News February 19, 2014

I want to remind everyone - for your own protection, do not release personal information to anyone over the phone.  There are just too many scams out there and we can all be taken in more easily than we expect.
Please remember to never give out any personal information to anyone, no matter how legitimate they claim to be or sound.
There are many older scams still making the rounds. A well-informed senior had a call from "her son" (often it is a grandchild) whose voice was muffled because he had been in a fight and his nose was bleeding. The senior, inadvertently supplied the name by asking if the caller was "John." The so called son was in trouble and needed money fast.  Fortunately for this senior, it was caught before money was sent but many people send money and get caught by this scam rather than let their family member down.  Just know that your real child or grandchild will never see a penny of that money and they can disguise voices in many ways to fool you.
Another scam that many people fall for is sending money to a "new" ministry or charity that sounds like such a good thing. Unfortunately, the few legitimate requests get buried in the every growing pile of scam requests. If you don't know the person or the ministry/charity, the RCMP and I would suggest you don't support it. If they are legitimate, they will mail you material to look at but most callers don't have material to send you but will say they do to get your support. It is such a different world today than the trusting world we lived in growing up. Do not take requests for money, prizes won, or requests for personal information seriously.
The Fraud Prevention Centre gives these tips to recognizing a scam all:
• The caller demands an immediate answer but refuses to send you anything in writing;
• You must pay fees or buy a product before you can collect a prize or obtain credit;
• You are asked for credit card or bank account information or other personal information such as your personal health care number;
• You can only send payment by wire service or by courier.
In all these scams, you will lose your money; often your identity; and a lot of sleep.  Please be smart, protect yourselves, and don't give out personal information over the phone. Seniors Outreach will advocate for you and alert you to new scams but you are the only one who can hang up or say no. For more information, please call our office at 403-443-2555.