August 1, 2023

Seniors are one of the most commonly targeted demographics by fraudsters – we’re even seeing this play out in our own branches!


  • About 10% of seniors are victims of crime per year.
  • 4-5% of seniors report some form of abuse from ages 65 up.
  • Financial abuse/exploitation and emotional abuse are the most prevalent.
  • Overall rates of elder abuse are similar in Canada, Australia, US and UK
  • Seniors are less likely to report abuse, and when they do, it’s often to health professionals, community groups, or their Financial Institution, not police.

When it comes to financial crimes, seniors are targeted in almost every way, including aggressive telemarketing, fraudulent home repairs, health or investment schemes, technology schemes, romance or urgent family schemes, just to name a few.


  • Home ownership.
  • A tendency not to seek advice before making a purchase.
  • Financial risk-taking behaviours.
  • Lack of knowledge of consumer rights.
  • Lack of awareness of fraudulent schemes.
  • Openness to marketing appeals.
  • Reluctance to hang up the phone on telemarketers.

Perpetrators use a variety of tactics that may hit on many of these risk factors to gain compliance. They will often try to isolate the victim, pressure them to act quickly, use fear tactics, and discourage the victim from seeking outside advice.


  1. BE SUSPICIOUS – Particularly of anything that shows up unexpectedly, including regular mail, emails, and messages through social media or text. Check email addresses and phone numbers, avoid clicking on pop ups or links in emails, and navigate to trusted sites by typing in the address rather than using a search.
  2. SLOW DOWN THE PROCESS – almost nothing will need an immediate response. You are allowed to take a step back and think about it, even for a few minutes, to ensure you’re not reacting out of fear or pressure. If you’re unsure, run it by a trusted loved one or your Financial Institution.
  3. PLAN AHEAD – ensure you have people you can trust set up to assist you when the time comes, making sure your wishes are clearly stated. Consider an advanced directive or Power of Attorney that can follow through on your instructions.
  4. ASK QUESTIONS – Does the scenario make sense? Are you familiar enough with the person/investment/scenario to make an educated decision? If you aren’t, run the situation by someone else before acting on it. It could be your advisor from YNCU or a trusted friend or family member, but a second opinion never hurts. If you’re being discouraged from seeking another opinion, this should be a red flag.
  5. KEEP UP TO DATE on active scams by reviewing the list of ongoing fraud tactics provided by The Canada Anti-Fraud Centre. They are explained in easy-to-understand terms and can give you a great idea of what to be on the lookout for.

If you would like to review the Crime and Abuse Against Seniors report from the government, click here or visit