BY ALEX LUPUL
Taking the wrong phone call or clicking the wrong link can result in serious consequences, but the NRP and Lifetime Financial Planning Group (LFPG) hope to prevent them from occurring.
On May 5 from 9am to noon, the Stamford Lions Club in Niagara Falls will host a free “Guard Your Identity Seminar,” with guest speaker Detective Jeff May from the NRP’s Central Fraud Unit.
The Central Fraud Unit investigates financial crimes that involve vulnerable victims, large sums of money, multi-agency frauds, serial fraud occurrences, and frauds involving complex paper trails. These include identity theft, Power of Attorney theft/fraud, payment card fraud, fraudulent cheques, counterfeit currency, employee fraud, investment fraud and Internet fraud.
While the Central Fraud Unit (CFU) is able to look into such cases on a local scale, if the fraud is internationally driven, they unfortunately have to inform the victim that they can’t pursue it. This outcome can leave the victim dealing with the bank or credit card company to see if they can recover some of the funds or stop the transaction.
The CFU hopes that residents will avoid such occurrences by attending the seminar, where they will learn to watch out for various scams, ranging from password theft to employment scams.
“The conversation seems like it should be had, and it just doesn’t seem like it’s being had as often as it can be,” said Aaron Filer, Certified Financial Planner at LFPG, one of the organizers of the event. “We figured that if we did at least one seminar, to see if people are actually interested, it would be worthwhile making people aware of this.”
While fraud affects people of all ages, May indicated that one group in particular is experiencing an uptick in cases.
“Our work is becoming busier with seniors, because they’re such a vulnerable targeted audience,” May said. “It’s just becoming a real rampant problem because of the internet.“
During such incidents, it’s easy to be caught off-guard, but May states that it isn’t necessary to react instantaneously to something that appears on your screen, especially if it seems illegitimate.
“I just want people to take a deep breath and take a step back,” May said. “I’m going to give them the tools in this presentation and some takeaways to actually use going forward, if they become victims of attempted fraud.”