VPD’s Scam Prevention team empowers seniors to protect themselves from scams

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The VPD Scam Prevention for Seniors team has been offering information sessions to seniors, their loved ones, and caregivers. Most recently the VPD Scam Prevention for Seniors team took their road show to the Musqueam Cultural Centre to deliver information on fraud prevention to the First Nations community on November 28th.
The session attracted a diverse group of seniors and elders. A traditional welcoming drumming ceremony and opening remarks from John Stogan commenced the evening. The Musqueam Cultural Centre was filled with over 100 seniors and elders who were engaged and eager to learn about the current trending financial scams that are targeting the senior demographic.

Sgt. Rita Raj thanked Musqeam for providing the VPD the opportunity to bring the roadshow to the Musqueam Cultural Centre. Sgt. Rita Raj explained “that police and fraud prevention experts have seen a rise in financial scams targeting seniors over the years. Our goal is to provide information and resources to help seniors spot scams and to break down any stigma around reporting the crime.”
VPD officers armed seniors with tips, information, and knowledge about the current phone scams, distraction thefts, grandchild bail scam, and cybercrimes that are running rampant across the country. Seniors were given tips on how to protect themselves from becoming victims of fraud when donating to food banks, Red Cross and other charities over the holiday season. This session was engaging and the seniors in attendance were given a safe platform to share their experiences and encounters with fraudsters. Many of the seniors shared their personal experiences with scammers calling and attempting to disarm them using different tactics playing on their good nature.
Detective Julie Gilmore said “these scammers usually use high pressure tactics to compel their victims to act quickly, our goal is to equip seniors with knowledge so they can immediately recognize that the phone call is not genuine”.
Cyber crime expert Detective Rob Merriott took the stage and educated the attendees about artificial intelligence and how sophisticated and complex the scammers have become.
Sgt. Rita Raj told the seniors in attendance “no police department across Canada will ever call members of the public and demand money or request any form of payment over the phone, it is a scam, please hang up”.
Scam Prevention for Seniors organizers Sgt. Rita Raj, Detective Julie Gilmore, Mariya Zhaglova, and Rob Dairon have been on a roadshow since June of 2023. The VPD has more than a dozen seminars scheduled at various locations across Vancouver in 2024.
“If you are interested in having the VPD scam prevention team present to a group of 50 or more people at your chosen location please contact us to make arrangements or get more information. These sessions are being held in Vancouver but are open to all members of the public” shares Sgt. Rita Raj.
All attendees receive lunch or snacks, depending on the time of day. In addition, they will be provided with printed materials and they can participate in a robust question-and-answer period on crimes against seniors. Seminars typically last between two to three hours.
For more information please contact Sgt. Rita Raj at [email protected]