Thunder Bay

Financially victimized seniors tell their stories in new video campaign

The Community Elder Abuse Prevention Committee in Thunder Bay hopes a new video featuring cautionary tales will help seniors guard against financial abuse.

Video tells 4 stories of seniors being victimized by family members, friends, or financial advisors

The Community Elder Abuse Prevention Committee in Thunder Bay hopes a new video featuring cautionary tales will help seniors guard against financial abuse.

The video features four stories of city residents who were financially victimized.

Detective Constable Diane MacLaurin said she hopes the first-person stories will send a powerful message.

"For me ... to tell people, 'this happens, you know a son, your daughter, someone may very well steal from you,' it's not as impactful as the victims themselves speaking."

MacLaurin, who is with the Thunder Bay Police Service's Crimes Against Seniors Unit, said the video will be used over the next year to help educate people about how to recognize and prevent financial abuse.

The four people in the video tell four different stories of being victimized by either a family member, a friend, or a financial advisor.

"They're different financial abuses that are told in the victims' voices. The victims themselves are  speaking about their abuse," MacLaurin said.

Video part of training package

One of the stories is told by a widow who lived in a seniors apartment building in Thunder Bay.

MacLaurin said a younger senior in the building befriended her and started offering her rides in his vehicle to run errands. He gained her trust and started taking advantage of her financially by doing things like offering to take her bank card to withdraw money for her.

"When her rent wasn't able to be paid because she didn't have any money left in her bank account, then she realized that she had been victimized by this fellow over a period of time, after he had gained her trust," MacLaurin said.

The video will be shown as part of a training package that will teach seniors how to identify elder financial abuse, prevent it and get help.

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