Fraud prevention and winter preparedness and safety were the topics of the Nov. 13 Lunch and Learn seminar at the Tudor and Cashel Township community centre from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bancroft OPP Constable Scott Tucker gave invaluable advice on both topics and the Limerick Friends Club provided a hearty lunch of soup, chili, sandwiches and for dessert, fruit pies. Made possible by the Seniors Accessibility Grant, around 40 people attended this session. Councillor Elain Holloway, the primary organizer of these sessions, comments on this event.
Holloway introduced Tucker, who spoke about online and phone fraud prevention. So far in 2023 (as of the end of August), there have been 61,305 reports of fraud, 38,812 victims of fraud and $332.7 million lost to fraud in Canada, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. These statistics include both online and phone fraud. Tucker spoke of the types of scams being used, like the grandparent scam, the Canada Revenue Agency scam, the fake bank scam (scammers pretending to be your banking institution) and others, and how to protect yourself online and to prevent or diminish the chances you’ll fall for such scams.
“That’s what happens to the majority of people, who are falling for these scams in good faith. They’re believing that the company or individual reaching out to them is looking to help them or they’re playing on your emotions and they seem like a person who’s in need. That’s how they’re drawing primarily money but also information out of their victims,” he says.
Tucker emphasized that people shouldn’t be afraid to report any fraud they’ve fallen for to the police or to their bank.
“You don’t have to be a fool to fall for a scam. These scammers that are out there now are using very advanced techniques. They’re preying on your weaknesses, your empathy, and they use that to exploit you,” he says.
If you’ve been subject to an attempted fraud that you didn’t fall for, Tucker advised that people call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, who compile large information tracking on fraud. They can be reached at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.
“At the end of the day, the biggest takeaway is don’t be afraid to say no, to hang up, to not reply to their scam attempts, and not to be afraid if you do fall victim to report them. Because the sooner you report them typically the more your bank can do about it, the more police can do about it, and the more you’ll be assisting and protecting other people from these same scams and frauds,” he says.
Next up, Tucker talked about winter preparedness and safety. He recommended having the following items in or on your vehicle during the winter months; having your phone charged, having at least half a tank of gas at all times, having an emergency kit, having a flashlight, having a candle with matches and a lighter, having a blanket and/or warm clothes, and having winter tires.
“During winter, being prepared is the best way to protect yourself from all conditions in general,” he says.
After Tucker finished his presentation, Holloway thanked him and told everyone about the lunch and learn events that were coming up, including the fully booked wreath making class on Nov. 25, the Alzheimer’s Society lunch and learn on Jan. 17, and the ongoing weekly Zoomba and Chair Yoga classes (on Tuesdays and Thursdays respectively).
Attendee Mark Neilson was impressed and thought the information presented by Tucker was very useful.
“That’s probably the most valuable thing you can provide to the community is that kind of information for [the community’s] safety and protection,” he says.
Attendee Marg Elliott’s daughter is a police officer in Victoria who has warned her of the dangers of these online and phone scams.
“I think it was a really good presentation. It’s really easy to get sucked in. You think you’re perfect until you are [sucked into a scam]. My friend that got sucked in with the grandmother scam, she’s got a Masters degree, she’s not stupid. But she said she got absolutely taken in. And [Constable Scott Tucker] said they prey on your emotions,” she says.
Holloway told Bancroft This Week right after the session that she’d gotten a lot of positive feedback from the people that came by.
“One of the things I find is that I not only learn about something useful but I get to spend time with my neighbours and friends. And especially when we’re talking about a senior community program and one of the reasons I ran for councillor in the first place, I didn’t know there was anything going on. And now we have something going on. It gets people out and I’m very pleased with the way it turned out. And [Constable Scott Tucker’s] presentation was amazing, the Limerick Friends Club are great with the lunches they provide. And I give a lot of credit to Nancy [Carrol, clerk and treasurer]. She does a lot of the paperwork. We may find the grants but she does the legwork to try to get them in place. It’s gone very well,” she says. “We’re really excited about how well it’s been received in the community.”
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times