CSA urges vigilance against online financial abuse of older Canadians

Among the highlights include assigning a TCP

CSA urges vigilance against online financial abuse of older Canadians
Older adults are increasingly becoming targets of sophisticated online scams

In observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) are urging older adults and their families to stay vigilant against the increasing threat of online financial elder abuse. They are also highlighting the importance of appointing a Trusted Contact Person (TCP).

Older adults are increasingly becoming targets of sophisticated online scams. Scam artists exploit individuals who are socially isolated or have diminished capacity, preying on their accumulated savings. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has enabled new methods for criminals to deceive victims. AI voice cloning allows scammers to convincingly impersonate family members or friends in urgent need of money. Additionally, AI-generated deepfakes create realistic images and videos, which scammers use to establish credible personas on dating sites and social media, as well as to promote fake celebrity endorsements.

The CSA offers several tips to help older Canadians protect themselves:

  • Limit the amount of personal information shared publicly on social media by adjusting privacy settings.
  • Be cautious of endorsements or investment opportunities promoted by celebrities or public figures online, as these are often AI-generated scams.
  • Be skeptical of new online acquaintances or love interests who quickly take an interest in your finances or offer unsolicited investment opportunities, particularly involving cryptocurrency.
  • Refrain from sending money or investing based solely on the advice of someone not met in person.
  • Verify the registration of any individual, firm, or platform you plan to invest with by visiting AreTheyRegistered.ca and confirming the representative's identity by calling the listed phone number.

Why it’s important to assign a TCP

The CSA also emphasizes the importance of assigning a Trusted Contact Person (TCP) to financial accounts. A TCP serves as a point of contact for financial advisors if they are unable to reach their client or suspect financial abuse or fraud. It is important to note that a TCP does not hold power of attorney or access to the client’s accounts.

A TCP is a designated individual who the client authorizes their financial firm to contact under specific circumstances. This measure is recommended for anyone with an investment account, particularly older Canadians.

If you suspect that you or someone you know is being exploited financially, take action, the CSA noted. Seek guidance from trusted friends, family members, police officers, lawyers, local securities regulators, or financial institution staff.