Scams and Fraud

As we get older, especially those living alone in their own home, we may be more susceptible to fraud or scams.

There are many types of deception perpetrated on the elderly, including door-to-door salespeople scams and well as telemarketing and email fraud.

Here are some questions to ask and precautions to take to avoid getting ripped-off.  

According to Consumer’s Protection Ontario, if you are dealing with a salesperson at the door (which may not be advisable to begin with)

Can you leave me a copy of the contract to review before signing?
What are my options for canceling this contract?
For any upgrades offered (for example a water heater), ask for your current contract to be supplied.

For Home Renovations/Condos/Moving

For references and check them.
Check rules, regulations and bylaws before signing.
Get written estimates before signing, check who is responsible for damage or loss.
Are you covered by Workplace Safety and Insurance?

Email Scams

Never give out any banking information, passwords or personal information through an email. Don’t click on any links in emails soliciting this kind of information, directly contact the company to verify offers.


The classic phone scam is the offer of a free vacation.  If asked for banking information over the phone or a processing fee, it’s a scam.  Con-artists may use the “grandparent” scam on elderly people and try to have money wired to them for an “emergency”.  Verify the person’s identity by asking for a middle name and contact the police when in doubt.

Never give out your your social insurance number, driver’s license number, credit card or banking information, birth certificate or passport information.  These can lead identity thieves directly to your financial world.

The Government of Canada has province-specific information for seniors on its website at  SeniorBusters is a volunteer program to educate the public about marketing fraud and identity theft.  For more information contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or .