Brand new website coming soon. Learn MoreClose

Preventing Fraud and Financial Abuse

The most common crimes committed against seniors in Canada are fraud and financial abuse. Sadly, these crimes are often committed by someone you know, like a doctor, caregiver, financial advisor, neighbour or family member.

Common Forms of Fraud and Financial Abuse

Learn to recognize the ways that someone may try to take advantage of you:

  • Forging your signature on cheques or financial documents.
  • Using your debit or credit card to make withdrawals or purchases without your permission.
  • Stealing from your bank account using your identity or personal information.
  • Asking you to give, donate or invest money under false pretences.
  • Requesting personal information or money through dishonest or impersonated e-mails, websites or phone calls.
  • Moving into your home without being invited or pressuring you to provide food and shelter to someone without payment.
  • Exploiting a Power of Attorney or legal guardianship.
  • Coercing you to make changes to your will.
  • Convincing you to sign documents you haven’t read or don’t fully understand.
  • Pressuring you to refinance your home, sell your home for less than it is worth or co-sign for someone else’s mortgage.
  • Assuming your identity to steal the title to your home, sell your house or take out a second mortgage.
  • Promising to loan or give you money so you can apply for a mortgage you don’t qualify for.
  • Bullying you to use your good credit to apply for a mortgage for someone with bad credit.

Protect Yourself from Fraud

Reduce your risk of being targeted by following these security measures:

  • Store credit cards and personal and financial information in a safe and secure place. Only share this information with people you trust.
  • Choose PIN numbers and account passwords that are difficult to guess. Keep these private. 
  • Regularly monitor your bank accounts and statements for unusual charges or other suspicious activity.
  • Shred all financial statements, bills and other important documents before recycling them.
  • Don’t click on web links, open email attachments or respond to emails from people you don’t know.
  • Be wary of strange or unusual emails from friends or family as their accounts may have been compromised.
  • Avoid sending money to anyone, even a friend or family member, unless you can confirm their identity and why the money is needed.
  • Read all legal documents carefully and ensure you understand them before signing them. Pay special attention to your will or Power of Attorney.
  • Report any items that go missing from your home, especially ones that might be valuable.
  • Seek independent legal advice before signing papers related to the title to your home, your mortgage or anyone else’s mortgage.
  • Never misrepresent your finances or accept money from anyone in order to apply for a mortgage.
  • Check at least 3 references before hiring someone to work on your home or for personal or financial services.
  • Stay in regular contact with family, friends and others you trust to lower the risk of isolation.

If You are a Victim of Fraud

There is no need to feel embarrassed if you suspect you’ve been the target of fraud. Take the following steps as soon as possible:

  • Write down everything you remember about the situation, including names, dates, and all communications.
  • Tell a friend, family member or someone else you trust.
  • File a report with your local police department.
  • Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
  • Notify your bank or credit union.



Print(opens in a new window)