Call for Vigilance: Fraud and Theft Toward Seniors in Their Living Environment

14 november 2018

The Section des crimes économiques of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) calls on the vigilance of seniors, their family members and their caregivers to prevent fraud and theft of which they could be victims in their home, in a private or public residence such as in a centre d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée (CHSLD).

Recently, the Section des crimes économiques of the SPVM arrested a 53-year-old woman working in a residence who stole a new credit card, in the mail, from a 91-year-old resident.

Once the credit card was stolen, the suspect called the bank pretending to be the resident. She obtained a new Personal Identification Number (PIN) by mail on the grounds that she needed to buy hearing aids quickly. The suspect was able to use the credit card to make various purchases and withdraw money from the bank machine.

When the fraud was discovered, the bank reimbursed the complainant and suffered a loss totalling $6,593.70. The suspect is no longer employed by the residence. She faces two counts of fraud over $5,000 and identity fraud with the intent of gaining an advantage.

Seniors victim of fraud and theft in their living environment

According to statistics, an increasing number of seniors are victims of fraud and theft that are often committed by someone they trust, whether they are a caregiver, a home care attendant or an employee of a private or public residence.

This situation of financial abuse can last for a while before someone notices it and the appropriate authorities are contacted to take action to end it quickly. Disclosure to the police service often occurs when the victim has reached a financial risk situation, which causes a lot of distress to the victim.

It is therefore important for seniors as well as family members or caregivers to ensure that the mail handling procedure is followed and also to keep an eye on bank accounts and expenses. If in doubt, it is important to contact the financial institution concerned.

Prevention tips

  • Avoid giving your personal information to support staff.
  • Do not disclose personal information such as your bank accounts and social insurance number by email or text message.
  • Use a shredder to destroy your documents containing personal information.
  • Remember your PIN; never put it on your credit cards.
  • Never disclose your PIN to anyone even if they are running an errand for you. You are responsible for purchases if you have given your PIN.
  • Keep your chequebooks in a safe place, limit the number in your possession and do not keep them with your ID.
  • Always fill in the stub of a chequebook with the date, amount and reason for the cheque.
  • Check your banking information several times a month.
  • As a general rule, banks give you 30 days after issuing a monthly statement to report any discrepancies. Beyond this period, you could be held responsible for the loss incurred by fraud.
  • Check your credit history once a year.


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