Financial Elder Abuse: A Multi-Billion Dollar Industry

Telefunding and other mimicry : Scam artists are using telefunding in a sophisticated twist on a legitimate marketing technique. Legitimate charities often offer prizes in connection with their fundraising efforts. Fraudulent “telefunders” claim to send the money they take for prize promotions to charities, too, but not all the charities are real. In fact, these con artists contribute little or nothing to actual charities and funnel most money from consumers into their own profits and “expenses.”

Fraudulent prize promoters also are using ad agency savvy to mimic legitimate businesses and official organizations. Some package their scams in mailings styled to look like those used by prominent sweepstakes; others use mailings that look like they have the imprimatur of official, government organizations–like the lottery–or of legitimate parcel delivery services. Still others use envelopes that look like they contain telegrams or government checks. Many consumers have a hard time seeing through these schemes.

Where can you get help?

• Securities regulators oversee Canada’s capital markets and the advisers who sell and manage securities traded in those markets. You can contact your local securities regulator to check the registration of an individual or firm, and to find out if they have been involved in any disciplinary actions.
• You can also contact your local securities regulator to find out what your options are if you think you’ve been scammed. For contact information, visit the Canadian Securities Administrators website at www.securities-administrators.ca.
• The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (formerly PhoneBusters) is a Canadian anti-fraud call centre managed by the Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP and the Competition Bureau Canada. Its website provides an extensive list of fraudulent scams to watch out for, channels for reporting suspected fraud cases, and links to local fraud prevention groups across the country. Toll free number: Toll Free:?1 (888) 495-8501, e-mail address: [email protected] Their website is available at: http://www.phonebusters.com/
• The Royal Canadian Mounted Police website provides practical information to help Canadians protect their personal information and ensure their identity and finances are not compromised. Their website is available at: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/
• The Competition Bureau of Canada and the Fraud Prevention Forum work to prevent Canadians from becoming victims of fraud by educating them on how to “recognize it, report it and stop it”. You can find their website at: http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/
• The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada offers useful information to help Canadians protect their private information and learn about their privacy rights. You can find their website at: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/