North Simcoe Victim Services (NSVS) is hosting a fraud prevention seminar for seniors next week.
The event takes place on Sept. 28 at 12:30 p.m. in the Vimy Lounge of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 34 on Front Street. The event will feature representatives from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the Orillia detachment of the OPP, and a lawyer from the Community Legal Clinic.
“The officer who investigated pretty much all of the grandparents’ scams in Orillia will be speaking at the event,” explained NSVS executive director Kim Kneeshaw. “These are scams where people call and pretend to be a grandchild looking for financial assistance from a grandparent.”
Kneeshaw says there is a growing number of elderly people who are falling for scams in Simcoe County.
“The lawyer that is coming will be talking about people’s legal rights under the Consumer Protection Act,” she said. “She will be talking about red flags, what to do if you’ve been scammed, and limitation periods.”
After being scammed, Kneeshaw says it’s nearly impossible to get your money back.
“It’s a drop-in-the-bucket chance,” she said. “We’ve seen this issue a lot in Orillia.”
Hosting the event fits within the agency's goal of helping people through crime and tragic circumstances.
“We’ve seen an increase of people who are dealing with falling victim to different scams,” she said.
Kneeshaw says a concerned local store owner in the community recently reached out to the organization to alert them of a bitcoin scam.
“In the store, they have a machine that dispenses bitcoin,” she said. “Seniors are going in there while someone on the phone directs them to transfer the bitcoin.”
When the store owner tries to intervene, they are told to say that they are helping their grandchild or a friend.
“This has made us want to put something together to put some education into the community,” Kneeshaw said.
While the event is catered toward a senior audience, everybody and anybody is welcome to attend.
“I think it’s really important that we protect our seniors and vulnerable population,” Kneeshaw said. “We need to do what we can to keep these people safe and safeguard their future.”
Guest are asked to RSVP by email to [email protected] or by phone at 705-325-5578. The event also includes a free lunch.