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Elder abuse in Ontario: Senior tells seniors to just hang up

A Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre volunteer told seniors to just hang up the phone when being called by people they don't know who ask for personal information. Many cases of elder abuse in Ontario happen over the phone. The presentation, which was developed by the volunteer speaker and an RCMP officer, was being delivered to seniors in Southern Ontario with the aim of educating the senior population about unscrupulous people who prey on them – some over the phone.

The Prevention of Elder Abuse Network (PEAN) plays a part in helping to deliver these presentations. Seniors need to be aware that these kinds of things happen. In addition to talking about elder abuse over the phone, the presentation also speaks to seniors' rights, what it takes to age safely and securely, and other elder abuse issues. One of the goals is to reiterate to seniors the need for disclosing incidents of elder abuse so they can get help.

Fraudsters who call seniors usually identify themselves as people of importance, people who perhaps work for the government or the bank or a credit card company. However, legitimate people associated with these institutions would never ask for personal information over the phone. They don't make threats if the person they are calling refuses to give them personal information or money. The volunteer told seniors if they are threatened to hang up and call the police.

It has been estimated that scamming seniors is a billion dollar industry in Canada. Ontario seniors who believe they have been taken advantage of this way would do well to contact a lawyer experienced in elder abuse cases. A lawyer could guide victims and their families in the pursuit of compensation, both financial and emotional.

Source:, "Just hang up...", Bruce Bell, Nov. 8, 2017

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