BC FORUM News - from Seniors First BC
Protecting yourself from COVID-19 FRAUDS & SCAMS
Information provided by Seniors First BC
formerly BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support
What are the most common COVID-19 frauds and scams?
According to Seniors First BC, the most common COVID-19 scams targeting the public are:
· phone calls
· text messages
· phishing (fraudulent) emails
· door-to-door canvassing
· fake charities
· fake websites
· social media
· online shopping.
What should you do if a fraud or scam is suspected?
Seniors First BC recommends not responding back to any attempted communications, do not answer the door if you are not expecting a visitor or package, ensure you are purchasing from reputable websites, and do your research before shopping online. Do not click on website pop-ups and close the page immediately if one appears on your screen.
How can fraudulent activity be identified?
Official organizations will not send threats, errors or warning messages and will never give you a reason to panic unnecessarily.
Scammers have ways of making themselves appear extremely legitimate. They may impersonate well-known organizations, taking advantage of official symbols or logos.
How can you protect myself from scammers?
Never give out personal information such as credit card numbers, banking information, passwords or social insurance numbers, unless you have contacted someone for services and verified their identity first. Scammers will often tell you not to call family members or the police but to deal only with them. It is important not to listen to this advice. Reach out to a family member, trusted friend or call your local police department if you are concerned.
How do you report fraudulent activity?
Suspected frauds and scams can be reported to:
· The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at antifraudcentre.ca or 1-888-495-8501
· Your local police department by filing a non-emergency report (do not call 911)
· Your local bank/financial institution and credit card company
· The National Credit Bureau to place a fraud alert on your credit reports (Equifax Canada 1-800-465-7166 or TransUnion Canada 1-800-663-9980)
· The National Do-Not-Call List at lnnte-dncl.gc.ca or 1-866-580-3625
Where can you learn more?
Seniors First BC operates the Seniors Abuse and Information Line (SAIL), a BC-wide program with trained intake workers ready to talk to you in confidence about abusive situations of any kind involving older adults.
Seniors First BC also provides free legal services to older adults age 55+ who cannot afford a lawyer.
To connect with Seniors First BC for the SAIL line or to book legal services, call 604-437-1940 or toll-free at 1-866-437-1940, available 7 days a week (excluding holidays) from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Information from Canada Revenue Agency
This year, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) extended the tax-filing deadline from April 30 to June 1, 2020, to help Canadians meet their tax-filing needs during the COVID-19 crisis.
The CRA doesn’t want you to miss out on the important benefits and credits you’re entitled to, and filing your return ensures you get the correct payment amounts.
To make sure your benefit payments continue and any refund comes quickly, you’re strongly encouraged to file as soon as possible, if you haven’t already.
The CRA extended the deadline to pay amounts owing to September 1, 2020. Penalties and interest will not be charged if you make your payment by September 1, 2020. This includes the late-filing penalty.
The CRA has resources to help you file, click here: CRA and Covid 19 Changes to taxes and benefits.