Senior citizens are often the targets of crime due to their vulnerabilities. It is important to learn how to protect yourself or a loved one from harm.

Safety at Home and Away From Home

Creating a Safety Plan

Creating your own safety plan involves identifying the steps you will take to be safer. As an older adult, it's important to develop a safety plan and make it a part of your everyday routine.

Your safety plan should include:

  • Avoid shortcuts, especially when walking at night. Stick to main well lit routes.
  • Not letting strangers get close to your body.
  • Responding to the doorbell or door knocks, by taking a look from inside your home from a window or peephole and then speaking through the locked door. Ask who is there and why they are there so you can decide whether to open the door or advise them to leave.
  • Instead of receiving cheques through the mail, arrange for direct deposit and have monthly bill payments automatically taken from your account.
  • Considering switching to online banking or have a family members help with e-banking.
  • Avoiding providing personal information on the phone.

If you think someone is following you, go to the nearest police station, open store or gas station. Don't drive or walk home. You don't want anyone to know where you live.

Keep Your Wallet up to Date

Regularly clean out your wallet. A wallet tune-up can help to manage the risk of identity theft and potentially control loss of cards or funds.

  • Remove cards you no longer need or don't use often.
  • Keep your social insurance card hidden at home since only your employer, official Government of Canada Services or financial institutions that you earn interest or income from can ask to see it.
  • Photocopy the front and back of all the cards you use. Keep photocopies in a safe place in case a card is lost.

Community Resources for Seniors

Elderly woman putting hands over face

Elder Abuse

Elder abuse refers to harm done to an older person by a relative, friend, caregiver or anyone that the older person relies on to fulfill their basic needs.

Hundreds of cases of elder abuse are reported to Peel Regional Police each year and they are on the rise. According to Elder Abuse Ontario, the number of seniors in the Region of Peel is increasing at three times the rates of the rest of Ontario and Canada.

Types of Elder Abuse

Abuse may take one or more forms including physical, financial, psychological abuse and/or neglect.


  • Assault.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Unnecessary physical restraint.


  • Abandonment.
  • Failing to provide food, medical services or other basic needs.


  • Theft or misuse of a seniors' pension, money or property.
  • Forcing an older person to change their will or to sell their personal property.


  • Threatening, yelling, insulting or ignoring.
  • Treating an older person as a child.

Who are Elder Abuse Victims?

Older people who depend on others for daily care. They often know and trust their abuser(s) but are afraid of speaking up for fear of being punished, being placed in an institution, or because they feel ashamed.

Who Commits Elder Abuse?

Elder abusers usually have control or influence over the older person. In some cases they use the senior for their money or for a place to live.

Signs of Abuse

  • Unexplained physical injuries.
  • Poor hygiene.
  • Bedsores.
  • Anxiety and/or depression.
  • Over-sedation.

What can you do?

If you are being abused or know someone who might be a victim, please seek help from a public health nurse, social worker, doctor, lawyer or the police. Don't be afraid to report it!

Learn about the rights of seniors to protect yourself or your loved ones.

Person stealing wallet out of someone's pocket

Common Frauds and Scams

Fraudsters and scam artists often target senior citizens by taking advantage of their financial situations, health needs or reliance of others to help them. When in doubt, don't do what the person tells you to do. Always look up the information yourself for confirmation. Below is a list of some of the common scams and frauds.

Grandchild Emergency Scam

An upset person calls you saying they are your grandchild. The caller may use his or her name and claim they need money to be bailed out. The caller tells you not to tell their parents. A second person then takes the phone, claiming to be a police officer or lawyer and gives you instructions on how to wire money.

What to do: Don't send money or act without first checking with your grandchild's parents. Never provide the caller with your grandchild's name.

Medical Fraud

Seniors may be targeted over the phone or by email for good deals on health or medical items that are too good to be true.

What to do: Take the sales person or telemarketer's information, and ask your doctor for advice if you are interested in what they are offering.

Service/Administration Fees Scam

This scam involves receiving a call, letter, email or text message congratulating you for winning an expensive item or trip. To collect your prize, you first have to pay a service fee, administration fee or tax.

What you should know: You can't legally win any lottery that you didn't enter. Further, no legitimate contest requires you to pay to claim the prize.

Home Repair/Service Person Scam

This scam involves a person offering a free inspection or asking to check your home's phone lines, gas lines etc. The person may tell you that immediate repairs are needed and ask you to pay in advance.

What to do: Avoid opening doors to strangers. Get the service person's company information for reference, look up the information yourself and then call the company to confirm the information. Most legitimate companies will call in advance to arrange an appointment.

What you should know: Companies can no longer perform door-to-door sales in Ontario, unless you initiated the company to attend your home, have a contract with them, or called them for a service repair.

Safety for Seniors

Safety for Seniors is a half day seminar focusing on issues directly related to needs and vulnerabilities of seniors, including personal and property protection, fraud and much more.

If you would like us to hold a Seniors Safety seminar for your group, please contact us.

For more information, watch the video below on Common Scams and Frauds for Seniors.

If you are the Target of a Fraud or Scam

If you are the target of a scam or fraud you can contact the Fraud Bureau and speak to an investigator who will determine if a criminal fraud has taken place and how it will be investigated. Please have all the paperwork related to the fraud readily available, including the front and back of cheques, if related.

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