Financial scams targeting seniors are unfortunately becoming more popular in Vancouver and throughout Canada. As a trusted provider of home care in Vancouver, we wanted to share some information on a recent scam that has been said to have affected thousands of seniors throughout the country.
Seniors in Canada should be weary of suspicious charges on their back accounts. For four years, $19.90 was deducted monthly from Mary and Ron Bryce’s bank account, unbeknownst to them. Ron, the couple’s main organizer of finances, was transferred to a full-time care facility, leaving his wife to deal with banking for the first time in their marriage.
Mary, 91, asked a friend for help with the couple’s finances; the friend questioned the charges which turned out to be a mysterious fee coming from “ITD 1-800-5335964.” The number, which was found to belong to United States based companies under the guise of a health program, has been targeting and scamming seniors across Canada.
When contacted, the company said that the fee is for hotel discounts, prizes and vouchers that are good in Canada. They said that they do not target seniors specifically and only charge the fee when customers sign-up through the mail. The Bryces, however, have never received the discounts and did not sign up through the mail. For four years, the fee has come out of the Bryce’s account without their permission or knowledge.
The Bryce’s bank identified the debits from the 1-800 number as a scam immediately. According to the vice president of a national advocacy group for seniors, this problem needs to be on the mind of seniors and their caregivers. The Bryces were not the only seniors affected by the scam; another woman said her sick parents’ bank account had the same mysterious occurring charge. It was only when she checked the account of her parents, who are both affected by Alzheimer’s disease, did she find out about the charges.
So how can you help protect your aging parents and loved ones from financial scams? The first way is to educate your loved one on some of the most common phone scams, such as fraudulent telemarketing calls and door-to-door sales pitches. Seniors can also take financial seminars to learn more about dealing with bank accounts, and how to monitor them to identify false charges. And while Canadian banks should be taking more responsibility for identifying suspicious charges, it is crucial for family members to check bank statements for unfamiliar charges.
If you have an aging parent that needs help with managing their finances or other household tasks, or are simply concerned about their ability to live safely at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Vancouver today. Along with part-time care services, we provide Vancouver live-in home care, which provides seniors with the around the clock support they need to maintain their regular routines, safety and independence. For more information, call 778-279-3634 and speak with a friendly Care Manager.