Protecting Our Community Against Digital Theft

In today's digital world, we must remain vigilant and informed about the tactics used by cyber con artists who aim to exploit unsuspecting individuals. Recent reports from CBS News' 60 Minutes Overtime have highlighted the alarming ease with which scammers can deceive people, regardless of their technological expertise. These scams affect us all, but it is particularly concerning when seniors become targets. The Federal Trade Commission has reported a 70% surge in scams targeting seniors during the pandemic, with many seniors being home alone and increasingly active online. Shockingly, studies suggest that only one in every 20 seniors reports a scam after falling victim to it.

With this in mind, we want to address this crucial topic as it is our responsibility to stay informed and take proactive measures to protect ourselves and our loved ones from these unscrupulous individuals.

In a recent segment on Optima Living TV, Optima Living Principal, Ali Shivji, had an opportunity to sit down with RCMP Constable Chantelle Kelly, an expert on scams targeting seniors. Together, they discussed prevalent scams and shared valuable insights on how to defend against these criminals.

Scammers employ various tactics, such as impersonating grandchildren in distress, attempting to acquire personal information through deceptive messages or calls, or claiming individuals have won a prize or sweepstakes. These fraudsters exploit our trust and emotions to obtain money or personal information.

To protect yourself, it is crucial to adopt a cautious mindset when dealing with unfamiliar requests for money or personal information. Constable Kelly offers the following steps for safeguarding against digital theft scams:

  • Verify the story: Independently verify the identity and details of someone requesting financial assistance. Always contact the person or organization directly using trusted contact information, rather than relying on information provided by the caller.

  • Avoid sharing sensitive information: Exercise caution when encountering unsolicited messages that ask for personal details or urge you to click on links. Legitimate organizations will not request this information through unsecured channels. 

  • Question the sense of urgency: Take your time to think things through and consult trusted friends or family members before making hasty decisions. Scammers often create urgency to pressure you.

  • Be cautious of spoofed numbers: If in doubt about a call's legitimacy, hang up and contact the organization directly using a verified number. Scammers can manipulate caller ID to make calls appear legitimate.

Remember, skepticism and questioning the legitimacy of unexpected requests are essential. By taking these precautions, you can protect yourself from falling victim to digital theft scams. 

We genuinely care about the safety and well-being of everyone in our network, especially our residents and our team members, and we encourage you to share this information with your friends, neighbours, and loved ones. By staying informed and remaining vigilant, we can create a safer environment for all members of our senior community.

If you have any concerns or questions about digital scams or any other matters, please don't hesitate to reach out to us - we're here to support you.

Stay safe and have a wonderful day!