News that can’t wait

The Ontario Provincial Police, leading experts in telemarketing fraud and the coordinator of Seniorbusters (see Wednesday, Oct. 8 story) recognizes the vulnerability of seniors and educates potential victims on how to combat this type of crime. Telemarketing fraud is expected to cost Ontario seniors more than $3.5 million in 1997. Some 56 per cent of the total number of telemarketing prize pitch victims are over the age of 60, with the average dollar loss of more than $12,000 per victim.

According to the OPP, seniors are targeted because they are more vulnerable for many different reasons including loneliness, lack of family support, frailty and dementia such as Alzheimer Disease. Criminals know that seniors are particularly susceptible to telephone fraud; the elderly are usually too polite to hang up on a caller. Fraudulent telemarketers build relationships and gain the trust of the senior before they victimize the individual. Seniorbusters offers the following tips:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
  • Don’t give out bank or credit card information over the phone.
  • Never pay any money for any prize you have won.
  • Don’t pay for promotional items, ke pens, in order to claim your prize.
  • Don’t be afraid to hang up the telephone if you’re being pressured for information or money.

^Anyone who has been a victim or is being harassed by a telemarketer should call PHONEBUSTERS: 1-888-495-8501.