As you’re likely aware, a main financial concern for your clients is the possibility of falling victim to a scammer. And this concern isn’t unfounded; 34% of Canadians have previously fallen victim to fraud, at a cost of $100 million each year – $20 million of which comes from retirees.
HomeEquity Bank has therefore partnered with renowned conman-turned-fraud-expert Frank W. Abagnale, to put together four online classes that teach your clients to recognize common scams and empower them to protect themselves. Frank Abagnale, whose life inspired the hit Leonardo DiCaprio film Catch Me If You Can, was wanted for fraud in 12 countries before the age of 21. After serving five years in prison, he started working with the FBI to detect and prevent fraud, forgery, and embezzlement.
The Grandparent Scam
The first scam that Frank teaches us about is the Grandparent Scam. This scam exploits grandparents by calling the recipient pretending to be their grandchild. The caller obviously doesn’t sound like their grandchild, so the scammer will make up an excuse – perhaps that they’ve broken their nose or are ill. Then they start to lay it on thick. They may say that they’re in hospital or jail and need to be sent money right away. The sense of urgency combined with the emotional nature of the call leads the recipient to act rashly, not rationally. They send money over, and by the time they realize it was a scam, the caller has disconnected their phone.
There are several things your clients can keep in mind in order to avoid falling prey to a distressing call such as this. Firstly, they can verify the caller is who they say they are by asking a question only their real grandchild would know. They should also consult with a trusted family member or friend before taking action. And lastly, they should always be wary of urgent requests to send money.
The CRA Scam
Next, Frank teaches us about the CRA Scam. This time, your client receives a call from someone pretending to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. Before they have time to cast their mind back to their last tax return, however, the caller starts terrifying them with talk of unpaid back taxes, arrest warrants, and jail time. But there is a way out; as long as your client pays up now, all of this will go away. They may be asked to deposit money in a Bitcoin ATM or buy a pre-paid credit card and provide the serial number. And of course, once your client realizes the caller isn’t genuine, they’re long gone with their money.
You can help your clients protect themselves from this scam by reminding them that government agencies will always send written communication first. Tell them to contact the CRA on their official number before taking any action. And of course, also be wary of urgent requests to send money straight away.
The prospect of becoming a victim of fraud can cause anxiety for your clients – newly released data from an Ipsos survey commissioned by HomeEquity Bank finds that 91% of Canadians 55+ feel they are more vulnerable to fraud. However, by providing them with the knowledge to recognize common scams and teaching them what to do when they’re confronted with one, you can empower your clients to protect themselves. To learn about two more scams explained by Frank Abagnale, click here.
- Posted by Samrat
- On August 26, 2020
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