If a person hasn’t been targeted by a fraudster or tax scam, they likely know of someone who has, says a Oceanside Community Safety volunteer.
Dana Woon of Oceanside Community Safety Volunteers gave a seminar on fraudsters and scams to residents of Stanford Village in Parksville, June 14.
Jennifer Popperl, Stanford assisted living clinical lead manager, said tax scams are a concern she heard from residents.
“Over the past probably month to six weeks, we’ve had a lot of calls, a lot of our residents coming in and saying ‘I’m getting these calls, mostly from the CRA and they’re wanting money right away. What do I do?’” said Popperl, adding that she did a bit of research and contacted OCSV for a seminar.
Woon said fraudsters are coming up with new scams every day, but the scams have certain things in common that makes it easier to pinpoint whether or not it’s a scam.
The big one, Woon said, is the tax scam.
“If you haven’t received one of the tax scams, you probably have heard of people who have.”
Woon said with the tax scam, it can be a very legitimate looking email or piece of mail, or if it’s over the phone, the fraudster could be very intimidating and make people believe they owe the government money and will be arrested otherwise.
“The fear is there and people would rather pay than be arrested,” said Woon, adding people shouldn’t be intimidated.
Other types of scams could include people coming door-to-door asking for goods or services; gift card scams where the fraudster asks for someone to send them money by purchasing gift cards; ticket re-sales; and grandparent scams.
She said a fraudster could call and say to the senior they’re their oldest grandson or granddaughter which the senior could then say their name which the fraudster would make note of.
“They just tricked you and said it’s your oldest grandson and you said his name, and now they’re using his name,” Woon said.
“Or they get it off of your Facebook or some other social media you have.”
She said the fraudster could then pretend to be the grandchild claiming they’re in trouble (such as in jail) and then ask for money,
“Usually they say, ‘And don’t tell my mom. She doesn’t know about this,’” Woon said. “First thing you do is you call the mother, find out if the grandchild is where he says he is, does she know he’s in jail and have her send him the money.’”
Woon said the organization gives presentations throughout the community on a number of different topics including frauds and scams, elder abuse, cyber crime, road safety and home/personal safety. Woon said smaller groups are sometimes better because people may be more willing to speak up with questions or previous experiences.
If people would like to sign up for a seminar, they can contact OCSV at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on OCSV, visit www.oceansidecsv.org.