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Prepare Your Parents – Prepare Yourself

By Sgt. R. B. Trainor

Retired Police Officer

"Financial abuse is a crime. Report the matter to the police immediately."

The world we live in is very different from that of your parents, and their parents. Imagine no telephone, no internet, and no television. The only way anyone scammed money from you was at the annual carnival in town. Unfortunately the carnival has now invaded your life.

From phone scams to internet fraud, the world has become a very scary place. It seems there is no place safe anymore. Whether you are bombarded by aggressive salespeople, or by advertising admonishing you for not buying into the latest fad, it’s a struggle to hang onto your hard earned dollars. And then along comes the scam artist.

Fraud is the oldest crime in the books. Think back to the days of Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden with its lovely apple trees, and that evil snake. "Take a bite of apple Eve. Good things will happen." It sounds to me like a conman selling a bill of goods as crooked as grandpa’s little finger. The first crime ever perpetrated was definitely a fraud.

I have identified the most common scams below, and offer simple tips to pass along to keep from being taken.

PHONE SCAMS

  • lottery win
  • large prize win
  • bank inspector

Verbal Clues it’s a Scam

  • They tell you to send cash only (never send cash to anyone)
  • They say not to tell anyone (why not?)
  • They may say they are the Police (the police will never call about a lottery)
  • You’re to send money to a postal box (located at a Mailbox Etc. Store)
  • You’re to send the tax (10%) (10% of $250,000 is $25,000)
  • They ask if this the woman of the house? (They don’t know your name)

Stay Safe

  • Hang up the phone. Don’t talk to these creeps. "Slam Those Phones"
  • Quit being so polite

IDENTITY THEFT

  • dumpster diving for credit card receipts
  • garbage picking looking for personal information
  • Internet phishing – phony website emails

Stay Safe

  • Buy a shredder and shred anything with personal info on it
  • Never give out personal information over the phone or the Internet
  • Never toss anything in the garbage that identifies you
  • Read monthly credit card and bank statement looking for fraud
  • If you have been called by someone, let a friend know
  • Get advice before making large purchases
  • Credit services Equifax and Trans Union will give 1 free check/year

POWER OF ATTORNEY ABUSE

  • It’s theft and it’s criminal, not civil
  • Section 331 of the Criminal Code of Canada is titled Theft by POA
  • The appointed attorney cannot spend a penny on themselves

Keep Mom and Dad Safe

  • Never have joint bank accounts with POA unless it’s their spouse
  • Insert requirement to account every six months into POA
  • Watch for signs of mental impairment
  • Have a geriatric assessment done if in question
  • Watch for signs of excessive spending, or banking
  • Make your bank aware of your name, relationship, and phone number
  • Watch for signs of stress in parent
  • Take note if prescriptions go unfilled. They are unable to afford them? Why?

Fraud is everywhere. Use common sense, and stay alert. By doing the simple things I’ve listed above, you should have no trouble in keeping yourself, and your loved ones safe.

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