How Okanagan seniors can outsmart scammers

Protecting your personal ID and banking information is critical

Tugging at your personal heart strings and pressure to respond to inquiries immediately are the two favourite tactics for scammers.

While social media has opened up opportunities for scammers to pilfer your personal banking information, Interior Saving Credit Union’s manager of risk management, Paula Naka, said earning a scam target’s trust is a major part of their plan in ripping someone off.

“They are very good at what they do,” Naka said of scammers. “They are playing on your instincts to help, to the point of pretending to be a friend or a relative, muffling or altering their voice so you think they are who they claim to be in the moment.”

Naka along with Kelowna RCMP Const. Ann Donnelly were the guest speakers at a public forum about scam protection for seniors held in West Kelowna on Monday.

The forum is part of the 5th annual Okanagan Embrace Aging Month series of public presentations throughout March about lifestyle issues facing seniors.

Every year Canadians lose millions of dollars to activities of scammers who bombard us with online, mail, door-to-door and telephone scams.

Naka and Donnelly imparted the importance to protect your personal banking and identification information from anyone you don’t know, whether it be door-to-door salespeople, social media contacts or phone inquiries.

“Know who you are dealing with and never rush into any decision where your personal identification is required,” Naka said.

“We are telling you to be skeptical and not trust anyone you don’t know, but unfortunately in this day and age it is how you have to go about your business,” added Donnelly.

Related: Jay Ingram to speak about Alzheimer’s

From an online protection perspective, Naka said seniors should keep their computer software up to date; use strong passwords that are changed on a regular basis; use firewalls and anti-virus software to protect your personal data; use privacy settings such as Messenger rather than communicating openly on Facebook; and set up security alerts.

And both added that account passwords need to be written down somewhere, but that information should be stored away from your computer.

Dumpster diving is an age-old scam tactic for retrieving information, sometimes made easier in the recycling world where paper is separated from food waste.

“We still get a lot of information by mail so everything you throw away should be properly shredded or cut up before being thrown out. I can’t stress that enough,” Naka said.

The urgency phone call—a relative who needs money, a family friend who is in legal trouble, Canada Revenue Agency calling for an immediate payment—are scenarios that constantly probe people with the idea of retrieving personal data or wire money transfers.

“If you get scammed, you are put on what we call a sucker’s list, and chances are you will be hit again,” Donnelly said.

Naka noted it’s important to contact the police if you feel you’ve been victimized.

“Report it to the police right away. There is no need to feel embarrassed. You have been conned by someone who is being paid to con you. These people are good at what they’re doing, ” she said.

The golden rules to help you beat scammers

  • Always get independent advice if an offer involves money, personal information time or commitment.
  • There are not guaranteed get-rich-quick schemes—if it sounds too good to be true it generally is.
  • Do not agree to offers or deals right away.
  • Check the credentials of an individual or company before handing over any money or personal information.
  • Log directly on to a website that you are interested in rather than clicking on links provided in an email.
  • Never send money, or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.
  • If you become aware of a scam or have been scammed, get help—contact the local police, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (www.antifraudcentre.ca, 1-888-495-8501) or the Competition Bureau Information Centre (www.competitionbureau.gc.ca, 1-800-348-5358).

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Coldstream supports Okanagan College Campus residence project

Project would see a 100-bed residence on the Vernon campus in Coldstream

Dog control ramping up on Okanagan Rail Trail

RDNO taking extra precautions to ensure dogs remain on leash

Vernon show supports youth mental health, suicide prevention

Robb Nash will be performing Oct. 2 and 3 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre

Vernon preps for cannabis legalization

Vernon council tweaking zoning bylaws for non-medical cannabis uses, and cannabis cultivation

Vernon athletes boost WolfPack

Canada West sports roundup

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

Vernon Emergency program and Salvation Army team up

Vernon Emergency teams have extended appreciation to the Salvation Army of Vernon… Continue reading

Okanagan College student population climbs

Enrolment up nearly 14 per cent

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

Headbones Gallery welcomes work of Glenn Clarke

Giddieeyup on display Oct. 5 to Nov. 24

Most Read