If it’s not someone you know learn to say no

Who Do You Trust? asked a popular television game show hosted by a young Johnny Carson in the 1950s and early’ 60s. Nowadays, it’s something all of us should ask ourselves every time we answer the telephone, log on the Internet or respond to a knock on the door. We can combat the increas ingly sophisticated scams and frauds that are siphoning off the life savings and self-esteem of mature Canadians, but CARP’s National Scams and Frauds Forum held in Toronto in June concluded it cannot be done alone. Law enforcement agencies, governments, community organizations and businesses must work together, it was recommended, on an integrated, on-going basis to alert people to the various schemes concocted to siphon off a staggering $4 billion each year from an unwitting public. Appropriate sentencing was also advocated, reflecting the tremendous toll these crimes inflict on seniors.

“Many of us assembled here were raised during an era of greater trust,” said federal Solicitor General, Andy Scott. “But in today’s times, our goal must be to keep one step ahead of the perpetrators of these crimes – and that’s what we’re here to do. This forum is the frontline in the fight against scams and uds – and all seniors can and must play an active role.”

The forum provided a focal point for over 100 organizations from across the country. CARP President Lillian Morgenthau welcomed their representatives who subsequently met with the international, national and provincial experts brought together by CARP. Their mission was to develop practical and effective strategies in the fight against those who prey on vulnerable adults.

“People have to be on guard and aware of when their privacy is being invaded and their money stolen,” noted Canada’s Minister of Industry, John Manley, during his address to the forum.

Manley’s presence, along with that of Andy Scott, and the Attorney General of Saskatchewan, John Nilson, underscored the strong governmental commitment to the issue. Provincial ministries and municipalities were also well represented.

Public concern was evident in the wide media coverage the conference attracted. Television crews from local and national newsrooms were elbow to elbow with radio and print reporters throughout the day, and the conference received extensive coverage on network television, radio stations and in newspapers across the country. Reporters from Fairchild Television and Ming Pao Newspapers covered the event for the Chinese community.