Beware of scams

Opportunists all over the world use the internet to try and solicit funds from unsuspecting seniors and other vulnerable people.

Had a frantic e-mail from a friend of mine last week. Seems she was visiting in the Ukraine and had all her money and passport stolen. Although she went to the Canadian Embassy, she couldn’t be helped immediately and was in a terrible state

I read on, horrified. But then I suddenly realized that my friend would not be writing in such bad English and would also not be asking me for $2,500 U.S. so she could get home.

It hadn’t taken me long to realize I’d been contacted by some scummy scam artist lurking in a dark hole somewhere trying to get money for doing nothing.

This week I was online again finding out the amount of my Hydro bill and saw that BC Hydro had sent out a call for its customers to beware. Apparently, customers all over B.C. are receiving calls from someone identifying himself as being from Hydro and saying that if the customer doesn’t hurry up and pay the arrears, electricity will be cut.

The call looks legit, but the caller wants immediate payment and suggests that the caller purchase a cash gift card. Is there no end to these parasites?

Apparently not, because one call to the fraud department of the RCMP will tell you that there are more scams than you can imagine. Most popular targeting seniors is the one that claims the grandchild is in terrible trouble – jail, lost passport, mugged – and needs money immediately. The key to this one is that the fraudster says that the mum or dad can’t be contacted.

The problem is that most of the victims are seniors. We’re perceived to be wealthy and more trusting than the younger generations. Really vulnerable adults are those who have diminished mental capacity or those who have limited contact with family and few friends.

So, it’s up to all of us not to let our guard down. We worked hard for that money and don’t need to donate it to some worthless scumbag.

Seniors Advocacy has moved

We’ve temporarily, moved to City Hall. Our volunteers are in the office Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. All the same great services are still available but it does seem the time to remind you of two very important aspects of our service: Touch Screen Computer preparedness and accessible parking permits.

Memberships due

The Seniors’ Centre people would like to remind you that memberships for 2015 are due. If you haven’t paid yet, please do so in a hurry or your name is likely to be wiped from the list of members and the place is too much fun for you to miss out on all the activities there.

Beware of loneliness

Have no idea why I was onto the Government of Canada website recently, but I came across this obvious yet important piece of information courtesy of our servants in Ottawa:

The Impact of Social Isolation on Seniors’ Quality of Life and Well-being.

The social isolation of seniors can cause communities to suffer a lack of social cohesion, higher social costs and the loss of an unquantifiable wealth of experience that older adults bring to our families, neighbourhoods and communities.

Socially isolated seniors are less able to participate and contribute to their communities, yet seniors benefit from volunteering and participating in their communities due to a sense of satisfaction and efficacy and communities benefit from the services and social capital seniors are providing. A decrease in contributions by seniors is a significant loss to organizations, communities and society at large.

February blahs don’t help with this isolation that we often feel. It’s tough to get up and get going when it isn’t winter out there and it isn’t spring.

Luckily, Quesnel has a wealth of amazing activities for seniors and all of them just a bus ride away.

On the top of this list are both of the Seniors’ organizations in the downtown core: the Golden Centre and the Seniors’ Centre. The Legion is another organization which welcomes new members for social events.

Susan MacNeill and Mary Ann Sturdy are seniors’ advocates and regular Observer contributors