Seniors are frequent targets of scams because they’re often home during the day and may be more trusting.

The doorbell rings and an uninvited contractor tells you a repair is needed urgently and a payment is needed up front. Do you give it? Seniors are frequent targets of scams because they’re often home during the day and may be more trusting.

Here are some of the common online and offline scams to watch out for.

Lottery winner. A caller mentions a lottery and congratulates you on winning a valuable prize. All that’s needed is an advance fee to cover taxes or legal costs, paid by credit card or money transfer.

Grandchild in trouble. You get a call from someone claiming to be a police officer or lawyer. Your grandchild is in serious trouble and doesn’t want their parents to know. A money transfer is needed to cover a car repair or avoid jail.

Unpaid taxes. A caller identifies himself as a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) official who’s discovered unpaid taxes. He says you’re facing court charges or prison unless payment is received by credit card or even gift cards.

Charitable donation. You are approached at home, on the street, over the phone, or over the Internet, and they ask you for a donation on behalf of a charity. The email or money box may even have the logo of a real charity. They mention a recent natural disaster or appeal to your emotions.

Dating and romance. You are approached on a dating website. They send you some messages and a photo. They may even give you a small gift. After building a friendship with you, they mention a very sick family member or some other dire need. They ask you for a large amount of money.

Miracle cure. A product or service is promoted to you that promises to be a quick and effective remedy against a wide range of illnesses. It is accompanied by testimonials from people who were “cured.”

Fake online pharmacies. You receive an email that offers drugs and medicine at very cheap prices and/or does not need a doctor’s prescription.  

Bogus e-mail from a familiar organization. An official-looking bank or government e-mail arrives, requesting personal information to resolve a banking or tax return issue. If you comply, your bank account can be accessed or your identity stolen.

Computer virus. A legitimate-appearing message pops up, warning that a virus has been detected. If you click as directed, you will be told to give credit card information to purchase a program that will eliminate the virus.

If you become a victim of a scam, the financial and emotional consequences can cause a lot of stress. Be wary at all times, especially when you’re approached for money, credit card number, or any other personal information.