Scammers target seniors

Sophisticated methods employed

Seniors are being specifically targeted by scammers promoting fraudulent sweepstakes, lottery and prize schemes, warns a new report by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

It estimates that these scams have bilked $117 million out of 500,000 Canadians and Americans alone in 2017 with the real dollar loss much higher.

And of that number of people, the majority were between 65 and 74, states the report entitled “Sweepstakes, Lottery and Prize Scams: A Better Business Bureau Study of How ‘Winners’ Lose Millions Through an Evolving Fraud”.

“Among that age group, people who recently experienced a serious negative life event, and who expect their income in the near future to remain steady or decline, are even more likely to be victimized,” the report adds.

Direct mail, cold calling, social media, even text messages and smartphone pop-ups, indicates the BBB in warning consumers to be on guard.

Most of the fraud schemes originate in Jamaica, Costa Rica and Nigeria.

The BBB report urges law enforcement agencies worldwide to take more steps to investigate and prosecute those behind the schemes.

It also urges Facebook and other social media platforms to take steps to weed out fake, fraudulent profiles and make fraud reporting easier.

“The law requires you to purchase a ticket to play the lottery, but a legitimate lottery or sweepstakes will never ask its winners to wire money to claim the prize,” says Evan Kelly, senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “It’s heartbreaking that these fraudsters are continually finding new ways to prey on older people who are dreaming of a big win or a financial windfall in their final years.”

The BBB offers the following tips for consumers to avoid being caught in lottery or sweepstakes fraud:

* True lotteries or sweepstakes don’t ask for money. If they want money for taxes, themselves, or a third party, they are most likely crooks.

* Ask yourself – did you enter the lottery in the first place? Call the lottery or sweepstakes company directly to see if you actually won.

* Do an internet search of the company, name, or phone number of the person who contacted you.

* Law enforcement does not call and award prizes.

* Talk to a trusted family member or your bank. They may be able to help you stay in control of your money in the face of fraudster pressure.

Just Posted

Climate change affects Nechako watershed, worsens fires, group says

The Nechako watershed is feeling the effects of more intense widlfires and… Continue reading

Oil tanker ban to be reviewed by committee

Indigenous groups for and against Bill C-48 travel to Ottawa to influence the Senate’s decision

Fat tires on thick ice

Burns Lake fat bikers came out to enjoy the conditions on Kager… Continue reading

Lakes District News reporter self-introduction

For this week’s column Lakes District News readers get to read about… Continue reading

Not voting is a vote for apathy

Editor: I have just finished reading “The Regional News” mail out that… Continue reading

Cannabis gift ideas for this holiday season

Put the green in happy holidays, now that cannabis is legal in Canada

‘I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun’

Keremeos gas station attendant tells story about man with gun coming to store

‘People talk about deep sadness:’ Scientists study climate change grief

Some call it environmental grief, some call it solastalgia — a word coined for a feeling of homesickness when home changes around you.

As protectors abandon Trump, investigation draws closer

Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for an array of crimes.

Senate delays start of sittings in new home, delaying start of broadcasts

The Senate and House of Commons are moving into temporary homes for the next decade as a result of long-planned and badly needed renovations to the Centre Block.

UK leader seeks EU lifeline after surviving confidence vote

EU leaders gather for a two-day summit, beginning Thursday, which will center on the Brexit negotiations.

French police try to catch attack suspect dead or alive

Local authorities increase death toll to three, including 13 wounded and five in serious condition

BCHL’ers blanked by Russia at World Junior A Challenge

Canada West loses battle of the unbeaten teams in the preliminary round

Second Canadian missing in China after questioning by authorities

Michael Spavor, founder of a non-profit that organizes cultural-exchange trips to North Korea, “is presently missing in China”

Most Read