The safety of all our residents is of utmost importance to the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS). We encourage seniors in our community, and their loved ones, to access available supports and services to best ensure safety and peace of mind.

Reporting a concern regarding the safety of a senior

If you need to report a criminal offence or need an officer to attend to speak with you about your concerns, please contact us at: 905-825-4777.

In the event of an EMERGENCY, call 9-1-1.

HRPS support for seniors

The HRPS Older Adults Liaison Team consists of three Seniors Crime Investigators, an Older Adult Support Officer, District Community Response Officers, and the Victim Services Unit.

The HRPS Older Adult Support Officer provides outreach, connections to supports, and community services for the Seniors of Halton.

The Older Adults Criminal Investigations Team works in partnership with uniform patrol officers and community service agencies to conduct criminal investigations, including:

  • Financial crimes including thefts, frauds, forgery, and theft of mail.
  • Physical assault, including forcible confinement.
  • Neglect, including criminal negligence, failing to provide the necessaries of life, and breach of duty.
  • Psychological mistreatment, including harassing phone calls, uttering threats, and intimidation.

The HRPS also offers a variety of public education resources:

Public Education Presentations

The Older Adults Team offers a series of topical presentations to older adults, their families, and service providers to deter and prevent crimes against older adults. Presentations include: Fraud and Financial Crimes, and Seniors Safety.

Older Adult Crime Prevention Information

 Seniors Crime Prevention

It is estimated that by the year 2026, more than 130,000 people over the age of 65 will reside in Halton, the majority of whom will be living on their own or with family.

Although Halton is the safest regional municipality in Canada in which to live and work, some older adults will find themselves the targets and/or victims of crime.

The most common types of crime against seniors are:

  • Property crimes
  • Financial crimes
  • Physical crimes

Property Crime

Property crimes make up nine out of 10 of crimes against older adults. It is defined as any crime where money and/or valuables are damaged or stolen from a person, home or business without direct personal contact with the victim.

Property crimes against older adults can include:

  • Burglary
  • Auto theft
  • Petty theft

Victims of property crime suffer financial losses and may feel violated. In some cases, victims continue to feel unsafe long after the crime has been committed.

Prevent Property Crime In The Home

  • Install timers on lights so they turn on and off at certain times
  • Trim back hedges and bushes (especially around windows and doors) to make your home visible from the street
  • Ask a neighbour to watch your property and collect mail and newspapers left at your doorstep when you are away
  • Install video surveillance

Prevent Theft While Shopping:

Before leaving your home to go shopping, remove any items you will not use from your wallet and/or purse. This way, if a theft occurs, a criminal will obtain less information from you.

Store all purchases in the trunk of your car to deter criminals from breaking in. Your car is safer if it appears empty.

When walking through shopping centres, keep all purchases, purses and wallets in front of your body to reduce opportunities for theft.

Prevent Auto Theft

  • Always lock your car doors. This is the number one determining factor for auto theft and the most commonly forgotten precaution taken by owners.
  • Roll up all windows when not in your vehicle
  • Never leave your keys in the ignition or your vehicle running when you are not in it
  • Park in well-lit and attended areas
  • Consider installing a security or tracking system in your vehicle
  • Take part in a car-theft prevention program that enables police to stop your vehicle if it is driven at certain hours of the night

Additional Tips

  • Plan for your future when you are well and still independent
  • Make a will and review it annually
  • Seek independent advice from someone you trust before signing any documents
  • Have your pension and other cheques deposited directly into your account
  • Stay active in your community and connected with family and friends. Doing so will decrease social isolation, which has been connected to elder abuse.
  • Ask for help from those around you (i.e. public health nurse, church, senior centre, friends and family) when you need it
 Grandson Scam

The Halton Regional Police Service and other police services frequently investigate fraudulent acts committed against seniors. The focus of this information will be on what is known as the “Grandson Scam”.

How It Works

The scam occurs over the telephone and targets the elderly.

  • The caller identifies himself as the elderly victim’s grandchild, sometimes by name, or sometimes by just saying, “Hi”, or, “It’s me”.
  • The caller will wait for the victim to respond with something to the effect of, “Oh John. Is that you?” thereby identifying the grandson for the fraudster.
  • It is believed that in the instances where the caller identifies him/herself by a grandson’s name without prompting, the information was obtained from published sources such as, obituaries, classifieds, and social networking websites.
  • The caller usually indicates that he has been involved in a car accident or that he has been arrested and charged with a criminal offence and is thus in urgent need of cash to cover legal fees.
  • After the money is sent via a money transfer service, the fraudsters sometimes call back citing any number of reasons for requiring additional money, including, but not limited to, hospital bills and car repairs.
  • There may be other variations to this scam.

Tips to Avoid Becoming a “Grandson Scam” Victim

Police ask that you consider the following:

  • Ask the caller for a call back number. This gives you time to verify information. Be very suspicious, if the caller refuses.
  • Ask the caller a personal question only your grandchild could answer such as their date of birth.
  • Speak to another family member about the matter before sending any money or enquire with police.
 Romance Scam

On a real dating site, a scammer might send you messages and a good-looking photo of themselves or of someone they claim to be. They form a relationship with you and make you believe that feelings are mutual.

Once you are charmed, they will start asking you to send money. They may claim to have a very sick family member or a desperate situation with which they need your help. Once you give them money they will often disappear or keep requiring more money.

Fraudsters can also create fake dating sites where you pay for every message you send and receive. To keep you writing back and paying, the scammer may hook you in with vague emails about their love and desire for you.

In many cases, the scammer may even arrange to meet up with you in person to make their fraud seem more credible.

Tips to Avoid Becoming a “Romance Scam” Victim

  1. Never send money or give financial details on a dating site.
  2. Trust your instincts, ask questions, and carefully read the terms and conditions before signing up for a dating site.
  3. Before signing up for a dating site, ensure you know which services are free, which ones cost money, and what it takes to cancel your account.
  4. Make sure you only use legitimate and reputable dating sites. Always check website addresses carefully, as scammers often mimic real web addresses.
  5. Remember that it’s very unlikely that someone will declare their undying love to anyone after only a few messages, emails, phone calls, or pictures.

Always protect your money first.

Remember to never send Google Play Cards and/or Bitcoin.

 Bitcoin Scams

How the Scams Work: Scammers will contact you and state that there is some sort of problem or emergency and that they require you to send them a payment using Bitcoin.

The people running these scams request these payments in Bitcoin to hide their true identity and make it harder to recover the funds.

Common scams can include:

  • A warrant for your arrest has been issued
  • You haven’t paid enough taxes
  • There are pending immigration fines
  • There are outstanding police or legal fees
  • “Emergency” situations
  • Online romantic interest starts requesting money
  • In order to claim your lottery winnings, and
  • Deposit or payments on property is required

The Canada Revenue Agency, Immigration Canada, the Police, or Canadian Government will NEVER ASK FOR BITCOIN as payment.

PROTECT YOURSELF: Never send money to someone you have not met in person. If you suspect you are being scammed, HANG UP THE PHONE and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or Halton Regional Police Service Regional Fraud Unit at 905-465-8741 (Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.).

 Bank Investigator Scam

Fraudsters call consumers claiming to be a financial institution or a major credit card provider. The fraudsters then inform the consumer that they are investigating unauthorized activity on their account. The fraudsters ask the consumer to help them catch the criminal. By gaining remote access

to the consumer’s device or computer, the fraudsters will claim to put money into the victim’s account so that they can send bait money.

Unfortunately, the funds seen going into the victim’s account are actually coming from their other accounts and the money being sent is going directly to the fraudsters.

Warning Signs - How to Protect Yourself

  • Financial institutions will never ask for assistance from the public for internal investigations.
  • Financial institutions will also never ask you to transfer money to an external account.
  • Never provide remote access to your device to unknown callers.
  • Always make sure you are alert when dealing with finances.
  • Never provide personal or financial information over the phone unless you called your financial institution.
  • Don’t purchase Google Play, i-Tunes or gift cards or use Bitcoin for payment – These items are not legal tender. Once you give away the code on the gift card – it cannot be recovered or traced!
  • Check your bank statement frequently and report any irregularities to your bank as soon as you notice them.

If you have been the victim of fraud, please call the Halton Regional Police Service non-emergency line at 905-825-4777, the Fraud Intake Office at 905-465-8741 or contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

Learn more on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s website:

 Frauds and Scams

Regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, race and/or marital status, confidence (‘con’) artists share a few things in common. They all offer deals to help you, get you something you need for ‘half price’ or even make you rich. All are linked by a common knowledge of human nature and are adept at exploiting it to their advantage.

While each con game is unique, the Halton Regional Police Service Regional Fraud Unit has identified a few common types of cons/swindles: false lotteries, fake charities, bogus contests and vacation deals, inheritance scams, credit and debit card fraud, and identity theft.

How They Get Your Information

Criminals have many sources. They might steal your wallet or personal documents left in your vehicle. They may also pilfer from mailboxes and rifle through recycling bins. Some companies have been known to make a profit by selling your information (address, name, phone number, etc.).

Criminals have been known to use false names to avoid capture by the authorities. Often, by the time someone realizes they have been a victim of fraud, the criminals have moved on to another identity or con, making them even more difficult to track.

Debit Card Fraud

By taking the following simple precautions, you can help protect yourself from this increasingly common type of fraud:

  • Cover the keypad when entering your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Doing so will not only deter criminals from defrauding you, but demonstrate that you know they are out there and that you refuse to be their victim.
  • Avoid using a password number linked to you such as your birthday or address
  • Never write your PIN on your card or on a piece of paper in your wallet. This makes it easy for criminals to access
  • your information.
  • Always shred personal information, including bank or credit card statements, receipts, insurance forms and/or physician statements

Credit Card Fraud

As credit card use on the Internet increases, so too do incidents of credit card fraud.

  • Always check your financial statements. Doing so will ensure you are aware of your financial situation and that you will notice if your credit has been compromised.
  • When expecting a new credit card or financial record through the mail, know approximately when it was mailed and when you might expect to receive it. This will help stop criminals from going through your mail and stealing information without your knowledge.

While these tips may seem basic, credit card companies report that few people actually take these simple precautions.

Internet Over-Payment Fraud

In this type of fraud, a seller posts an item(s) for sale online. A buyer contacts the seller and arrangements are made to purchase the product. The buyer then sends the seller a cashier’s cheque or money order for an amount greater than the price of the merchandise.

From here, the buyer directs the seller to cash the cheque and wire the excess funds to either the buyer or a third party. The seller, believing the cheque to be genuine, deposits it and then wires the amount of the overpayment as directed.

It is usually after the funds have been wired that the cashier’s cheque or money order is returned as countfeit. The bank then holds the seller responsible for the amount of the fraudulent cheque, leaving the seller defrauded of both the money and the product. 

  • Be suspicious if the cheque amount you receive is greater than the agreed upon price of the merchandise you are selling.
  • Current technology has improved the quality of counterfeit cheques and therefore makes them difficult to detect. Be wary if the cheque is drawn from an out-of-country bank account.
  • Never agree to accept a cheque for an inflated amount and to reimburse the balance
  • Never agree to wire bank funds to the buyer or forward the funds to a third party
  • Know who you are dealing with when conducting transactions over the Internet and confirm the personal information of the buyer
  • Do not succumb to any pressure at the hands of the buyer or feel you have to complete a transaction when you are not comfortable. 

Lottery Scams

The primary thing to say to yourself when contacted by someone who tells you that you are the big winner or have the chance of a lifetime is: If it sounds too good to be true, chances are, it is. If you have legitimately won a lottery, you will never have to pay anything to receive your windfall. Be very cautious when being told you have won a contest you cannot recall entering. Your name may be on a list that has been sold.

 Debit Card Fraud

Always protect your banking Personal Identification Number (PIN). By taking the following precautions, you can help protect yourself from this increasingly common type of fraud.

Protect yourself from “shoulder surfers” and Distraction thefts

  • Be mindful of your surroundings when at bank machines and paying for store bought items.
  • Check to see who is standing around you and how close they are. Criminals will often stay close to you while you withdraw money from ATM’S or pay for store bought items, looking over your shoulder to see your PIN.
  • Be mindful as you leave the bank or the store. Notice who is approaching you and why. Criminals will often stop you in the parking lot and engage in some form of conversation. While speaking with you, they will distract you while they or someone else steals your wallet or bank cards.

Take the Following Steps

  1. Cover the keypad when entering your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Doing so will not only deter criminals from defrauding you, but demonstrate that you know they are out there and that you refuse to be their victim.
  2. Avoid using a password number linked to you such as a birthday or address.
  3. Never write your PIN on your card or on a piece of paper in your wallet. This makes it easy for criminals to access your information.
  4. Always shred personal information, including bank and credit card statements and receipts. “Always protect your PIN or use TAP when possible”

If you have been the victim of fraud, please call the Halton Regional Police Service non-emergency line at 905-825-4777 or call the Fraud intake line at 905-465-8741.

 Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone obtains and uses another individual’s personal data in a way that involves theft or deception. Stealing or hijacking the identity of another person provides an effective means for criminals to commit fraud, impersonation and other crimes.

By getting this information from you:

  • Your name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your home address
  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Thieves can:

  • Access your financial accounts
  • Transfer bank balances
  • Withdraw cash
  • Open new bank accounts
  • Apply for loans, credit cards, purchase vehicles, and - in extreme cases - take luxury vacations or sell your home

Potential Targets

Everyone is vulnerable, simply as a result of going about normal, everyday activities.

Thieves’ success at stealing your identity depends on their ability to obtain your information and their knowledge of how to use it illegally.

How Thieves get your Information

  • Stealing your wallet
  • Stealing personal documents from your vehicle
  • Pilfering mail from your mailbox
  • Fraudulently redirecting your mail
  • Rifling through trash cans and recycling bins for credit card and loan applications
  • Tampering with automated banking machines (ATMs) and point-of-sale terminals
  • Compiling information from Internet accessible records
  • Searching public records such as newspapers or telephone books
  • Buying information from a dishonest employee working for a company that keeps personal/financial information
  • Creating fake contests

What Happens with Stolen Information?

Identity Takeovers: Someone appropriates your personal information without your knowledge.

Identification Factories: Places where thieves manipulate and alter real identification information. Advances in computer technology and in photocopiers have made it easier for thieves to steal information and create identities, while making high-quality forged identifications harder to detect.

These factories create IDs, such as credit cards, driver’s licences and currency.

If your Identity is Stolen

  • Notify your issuing authority immediately to have your document(s) cancelled and a new one(s) issued
  • Complete Ontario’s new standard “Identity Theft Statement” and send it to the credit issuers and financial institutions you deal with
  • Contact Canada’s two national credit reporting agencies:
  • Report the incident to the police
  • You may be advised to report the incident to Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: 1-888-495-8501

Additional Tips

  • Be aware of your surroundings and the people you speak with when using your credit card and/or showing your identification
  • Keep a record of transactions to compare against monthly statements

Did you Know

The street values of everyday pieces of personal identification:

Social Insurance Cards: $50

Driver’s Licences: $200

Expired Driver’s Licences: $50

Citizenship Cards: $100 - $150

Passports: $2,000

Identity Theft Form:

A form to quickly notify financial institutions, credit card issuers and other companies that you have been a victim of identity theft is available online. Find it at

 Money Transfer Fraud

Money transfer scams are on the rise. Be very careful when someone offers you money to help transfer funds. Once you send money to someone, it can be very difficult - if not impossible - to get it back.

The following information is provided courtesy of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

What to Look for:

Money transfer scams have been on the rise in Canada since the 1990s. Although many of these scams originated in Nigeria, similar scams have originated all over the world - particularly in parts of West Africa and Asia. These scams are increasingly referred to as advance fee fraud.

How it Works:

  • In the classic money transfer scam, you receive an email or letter asking your help to transfer a large sum of money overseas
  • You are offered a share of the money if you agree to give them your bank account details to help facilitate the transfer.
  • You will then be asked to pay numerous taxes and fees before receiving your ‘reward’.
  • You will never be sent any of the money and will lose the fees you paid.

A Variation of this Scam is the Inheritance Scam.

  • In this scam you receive a letter from a lawyer or bank representative advising that a long-lost relative of yours has died and left you a sizable inheritance.
  • Scammers can tell such convincing stories that you can be tricked into providing personal documents and banking details to confirm your identity and claim your ‘inheritance’.
  • Like the money transfer scam, the inheritance is likely to be non-existent and, in addition to losing any money sent to the scammer in fees and taxes, you risk having your identity stolen as well.

Another Variation is the Over Payment Scam.

  • If you or your business are selling products or services online or through newspaper classifieds, you may be targeted by an overpayment scam.
  • Here, you may receive a response to your ad with a generous offer from a potential buyer, which you accept.
  • You receive payment by cheque or money order but the amount is more than the agreed upon price.
  • The ‘buyer’ may tell you that the overpayment was made in error or invent an excuse (e.g. the extra money was sent to cover delivery charges).
  • Be suspicious if you are asked to refund the excess amount by money transfer.
  • The scammer is hoping you will transfer the refund before you discover that the cheque or money order they sent you was counterfeit.
  • You will lose the transferred money as well as your item if you already sent it.

Protect Yourself

  • Remember: If you have been approached by someone asking you to transfer money for them, it is probably a scam.
  • Caution: Never send money, nor give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.
  • Think: Don’t accept a cheque or money order for payment of goods that is more than what you agreed upon. Send it back and ask the buyer to provide payment for the agreed amount before you deliver the goods or services.
  • Investigate: Review the information on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website for additional tips on how to protect yourself against money transfer scams.
  • Ask yourself: Is it really safe to transfer money for someone I do not know?
 Online Safety

Smart online usage means taking steps to avoid falling victim to online fraud, which occurs when criminals try to obtain your personal information, such as credit card and account numbers, get you to pay for items that are either non-existent or misrepresented to you and/or steal your identity.

It may also include infecting your computer with a virus. The Halton Regional Police Service offers the following safety tips to help keep you and your family safe.


  • Do not respond to offers of money, threats of legal action or warnings about “compromised security”.
  • Be watchful of phishing e-mails that ask for personal or financial information.
  • Never provide personal or financial information to anyone in an e-mail.
  • Do not click on links in e-mails from senders you don’t know. The link may take you to a fraudulent website where you will be asked to enter your passwords or other personal information.
  • Be suspicious of e-mail attachments from unknown sources. If you do not know the sender of an e-mail, do not open the attachment. Attachments may contain viruses or malware designed to infiltrate and harm your computer.
  • Do not set your e-mail program to “auto-run” attachments. Always run your anti-virus software to check that e-mails you receive do not contain viruses.

Online Passwords

  • Choose unique, yet memorable passwords that you do not have to write down, but that are difficult for others to guess. A combination of letters, numbers and special characters is recommended.
  • Disable AutoComplete or other memorized password functions that may be available on your computer.
  • Do not save passwords on your computer, on the Internet or on any software. Anyone who has access to or compromises the security of that information can potentially impersonate you.
  • Never disclose your passwords to anyone, especially online.
  • Change your password at least every 90 days, to help protect the security of your information.


  • Shop only from your home computer and not on public ones. It is much safer.
  • Deal only with reputable companies you know and do your research. Legitimate merchants will have easy-to-find information about themselves, their location and contact numbers.
  • Don’t be pushed or rushed into buying an item, especially by “limited supply” or “limited time” warnings.
  • Know what you are paying for and all costs involved. Read the terms and conditions of all contracts before buying.
  • Ensure the merchants you deal with online have secure transaction systems (indicated by a padlock symbol at the bottom of your browser) before providing credit card or other sensitive information.
  • Consider using a credit card with a low credit limit or single use payment card.
  • Always print and save the confirmation page when completing online purchases.
  • Monitor all bank statements and activity online. Report discrepancies to your financial institution immediately.
  • Never provide your Social Security Number, date of birth or a driver’s licence number to a seller.
  • Clear your browser’s cache after visiting secure sites to ensure nobody else can view any confidential information you may have transmitted.
  • Always remember that if it sounds suspicious or too good to be true, it probably is.

Viruses and Malware

  • Always use up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software from a reputable vendor that is capable of scanning files and e-mail messages for malevolent software. Most anti-virus programs include an auto-update feature that enables the program to download profiles of new viruses so that it can check for them as soon as they are discovered.
  • Register new anti-virus and anti-spyware software immediately, and sign up for automatic notification of product updates if available.


A firewall filters information transmitted through your Internet connection into your computer, permitting communication only with sources you know and trust. It helps prevent unauthorized access, protecting your home network and family from potential hackers and offensive websites.

  • Restrict traffic that travels through your firewall by only granting access to those programs and/or traffic that you are familiar with.
  • Disable the File Sharing feature if you do not share files or documents with other computers on your network. Doing so will prevent others from being able to download or view your files or documents.
 Protect your Privacy

Protecting your personal privacy is of vital importance in an age where incidents of identity theft are on the rise.

The following tips are designed to help you avoid becoming a victim of privacy crime.

Documents and Mail

  • Keep all receipts and reconcile them with your statements
  • Ensure that all items containing personal information, such as credit card applications, charge receipts, insurance forms, bank statements and physician reports are shredded and safely disposed of
  • Never leave receipts at bank machines, bank wickets, in trash cans or at gasoline pumps
  • Pay close attention to billing and mailing cycles
  • Put outgoing mail in post office collection boxes Remove mail from your mailbox promptly upon delivery
  • If you are going to be away from home, ask a trusted friend or neighbour to retrieve your mail or activate a ‘hold mail’ service with Canada Post
  • Avoid mail solicitations disguised as promotions that request personal information

Identification, Credit and Credit Cards

  • Photocopy the contents of your wallet
  • Don’t carry your birth certificate or a photocopy of it in your wallet or purse
  • Never keep a record of your passwords or Social Insurance Number (SIN) in your wallet or handbag
  • Never leave personal identification and/or credit cards in your vehicle
  • Disclose your SIN only when necessary
  • Carry only the credit cards and identification you actually need
  • Cancel credit cards you no longer use and keep a list of ones you do
  • Lower the limits on existing credit cards so that thieves can’t get away with large amounts of cash
  • If you lose your credit card(s), notify your creditors immediately and request that a fraud alert be placed on your file
  • Never disclose credit card or banking information over the phone, unless you initiated the call or know who you are dealing with
  • Beware of phone solicitations asking for personal details
  • Periodically check your credit report


  • When creating passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs), avoid using your birth date, a series of consecutive numbers, or digits others may know are important to you
  • Choose difficult passwords and change them periodically
  • Ask that your accounts require passwords before any inquiries and/or changes can be made


  • Arrange to have cheques picked up at your bank branch
  • Don’t have your full name printed on your cheques. Use your first initial to prevent would-be thieves from knowing your full name.
 Protect your Purse

It takes only seconds for a thief to steal your wallet or purse and a moment’s distraction can cause you weeks of stress.

Follow our safety tips to reduce the chance or your property becoming a target.

Protect Your Purse

  • Leave your SIN Card, Passport and birth certificate at home
  • Keep your handbag with you at all times
  • Never leave your purse or wallet unattended
  • Keep purse zippers or snaps closed
  • Be extra vigilant in crowded locations
  • Keep your wallet at the bottom of your bag
  • Never write down PIN codes or passwords and keep them in your purse or wallet
  • Have a different PIN for each credit/debit card
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of money
  • Bring only what you need. Don’t carry extra cards or cash with you
  • Don’t get distracted. Thieves work in teams to distract you so they can steal your purse or wallet
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Report any suspicious activity to police

To report a stolen purse or wallet, contact the Halton Regional Police Service at 905-825-4777. You can also file an online report at Remember to inform your bank and credit card company of all lost or stolen cards and if your cellphone is stolen, contact your service provider.

To request an Older Adult Crime Prevention brochure, please email

Community Services for Seniors

Download the Halton Region Older Adults' Directory.

Contact Information

A/Sgt. Rob Underhill
905-825-4747 ext. 4727