Photo Credit: HomeEquity Bank

HomeEquity Bank launches 'Catch the Scam' campaign with Frank W. Abagnale, the world's most famous con man and imposter

Friday, September 4, 2020 12:00:00 PM

- Frank W. Abagnale, the fraudster-turned-FBI adviser whose bestselling book about his life Catch Me If You Can inspired the blockbuster film, is teaching older Canadians how to spot a scam in a four-part video series.
- The campaign is backed by the Bank's Ipsos-commissioned survey that finds 91% of Canadians 55+ believe they are more vulnerable to scams.
- Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 70% of the general public say there has been an increase in coronavirus-related scams.
- One in three Canadians 55+ say they've fallen victim to a scam. -

HomeEquity Bank, provider of the CHIP Reverse Mortgage, today announced the launch of its Catch the Scam video class series taught by world-renowned former fraudster Frank W. Abagnale in response to the growing financial threats faced by older Canadians. Abagnale is recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on financial fraud and has consulted with thousands of financial institutions and law enforcement agencies. The campaign is produced by Toronto-based ad agency Zulu Alpha Kilo.

Newly released data from HomeEquity Bank's commissioned Ipsos survey finds that 91% of Canadians 55+ feel they are more vulnerable to fraud, with more than half of that demographic saying they've already been targeted by a scam.

As criminals continue to improve and evolve their methods, Canadians don't feel confident they can differentiate between what's legitimate and what's fraudulent.

"This may be hard to believe coming from me, but the truth is criminals are becoming so crafty that even a former con man like myself could fall victim today," says Abagnale, who was once sought by 12 countries as he led authorities on a global manhunt.

Abagnale, who once posed as an airline pilot, a lawyer and a doctor to swindle his victims, added: "Times have changed, and unfortunately technology is providing bad actors the means to prey on vulnerable Canadians. That's why I'm proud to join this campaign and teach these online classes, which help empower older Canadians to spot and catch the scam before they're victimized."

Fighting financial fraud perpetrated on older Canadians has been an important issue for HomeEquity Bank for years. As the pandemic fuelled a rise in scams targeting those 55+, the Bank has been determined to do something about it.

"It's alarming when you hear one in three Canadians 55+ say they've fallen victim to a scam," says HomeEquity Bank's President and CEO Steven Ranson. "We know this demographic better than anyone, and we felt we could make a meaningful difference by helping educate them on how to spot a scam, and properly report it." Ranson goes on to say: "There's very little out there in terms of engaging educational resources, and we thought there's no better person than Frank, who has advised the FBI for over 40 years now, to teach people how to catch the scam."

The video series will focus on four scams that are popular in Canada right now — the Grandparent Scam, the CRA Scam, the Lottery Scam and the Romance Scam. While these videos are geared towards older individuals, the fact is Canadians of all ages are potential targets and are encouraged to watch these classes to better inform themselves.

"Criminals don't discriminate when it comes to age. As our survey data shows, 69% of Canadians from 18 to 55 and older believe if they fall victim to a scam, their financial situation will be damaged," says Yvonne Ziomecki, HomeEquity Bank's EVP of Marketing and Sales.

"According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians have lost a staggering $5.55 million due to pandemic-related fraud since March. Our hope is that this campaign will provide Canadians the tools they need to protect themselves and their loved ones."

You can watch the video series here:

SOURCE: HomeEquity Bank