Filipino seniors seeking government aid amid pandemic targeted in a scam in Canada

Carina Alamil has been having sleepless nights, after giving out her social insurance number and other personal information to a stranger who helped her apply for additional money from the Canadian government amid the pandemic.

“My child got mad at me for giving my SIN. That’s my big mistake.”

“We heard that she was targeting Filipino seniors, right? So these Filipino seniors, in this residence as well as in another residence, and we called around, we alerted community leaders and we heard that they were also calling in to other seniors’ housing.”

One of Alamil’s friends received money in her bank account in just two days, so Alamil decided to give it a try.

The friend told her to call a certain “Joanne,” who will help her get up to $8,000 in extra money from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

But she has to pay “Joanne” $100 for every $1,000 that she’ll receive.

“Yung kaibigan ko tinawagan ako na “gusto mo bang magkapera? Na-excite lang ako, diba? Big money ang daling makuha diba?”

“My friend called me and asked if I wanted to get some money. I got excited, right? Big money – easy to get, right?”

“Siguro sa matinding pangangailangan din, alam mo na yang mga seniors, pag may nalaman na may pagkakaperahan, hayan na, sige na, kagat na.”

“Maybe because of the great need of these seniors to get some money, if they learn of a way to get it, they’d bite.”

BCMLA Mable Elmore denounced the scam and immediately sought the help of the Vancouver police and the RCMP.

“They’re very trusting, I know many of them and that’s why I’m also very upset and I’m very angry at this, that they’re being targeted, taken advantage of and I want it to stop.”

Elmore said the CERB is only for employees who lost their jobs.

Retired seniors are not eligible so they will have to pay the full amount back to the government.

“Seniors will have to repay that amount, number 1; number 2, they’ll be out-of-pocket, because it could be up to $800 that they paid to that person. They have to repay that.”

ABS-CBN tried the number that the seniors called but the contact could not be reached.

Elmore is asking the seniors to help the police so that charges can be filed against the alleged scammers.

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