Financial exploitation – consumer fraud, investment fraud, scams and identity theft – is one of the most reported forms of elder abuse.

This blog post aims to empower seniors by illustrating the services that are available to them if they feel threatened or taken advantage of through investment solicitation or financial exploitation.

Elder financial abuse can be carried out through email solicitation, door-to-door sales, at sales seminars, or through telemarketing.

Warning signs to look out for are: • High-pressure sales tactics • Unsolicited cold calls or e-mails • Pressure from friends, family, or care workers

Furthermore, when considering an investment it is crucial to ensure the person selling you the investment is registered. Taking the time to study an investment and get independent assistance is an important step in protecting yourself.

The BC government has put together an information kit that features brochures on a variety of topics related to elder abuse. It is also leading a month-long social media campaign directed at spreading awareness about elder abuse. The campaign encourages British Columbians to use the hashtag #RespectSeniors on Twitter and a set of pre-written tweets to bring attention to the topic.

Here are the links to the government’s information kit (which is also on this BC government webpage): • Elder: Abuse: It’s Time to Face the RealityResponding to Elder Abuse: ResourcesFinancial Abuse: Protecting British Columbia SeniorsAre You Dating? Older Adults and Healthy RelationshipsHow to Tell Someone You are Being Abused: Starting the ConversationSeniors Abuse and Information Line (SAIL)

We also provide a Be Fraud Aware brochure that focuses on the warning signs to look out for when considering an investment.

If questionable investment activity is suspected you can contact the BC Securities Commission. • Call us at 1-800-373-6393, email [email protected], or through the “Report to Us” section on the website.

If you suspect financial abuse there are a variety of resources that seniors can access for help: • RCMP or your local city police: If the abuse has reached the point that it has become a criminal matter, contact your local police department or if it is an emergency, call 911. • Senior Abuse & Information Line (SAIL): SAIL is a resource for older adults to receive information about elder abuse, or as a safe contact to discuss possible abuse or mistreatment. BC Residents can contact SAIL at 604-437-1940 or 1-866-437-1940 (toll free). • VictimLink BC: Call 1-800-563-0808 to receive information and referral services. It is available in BC and the Yukon, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Suggested Reading

BC Securities Enforcement Roundup – January 2014

The Risks of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

Recent investor warnings from North American securities regulators

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