Residential school survivors have become choice targets for criminals looking to cash in on large government payouts.

The vast majority of the people receiving payments expected to total an average amount of $28,000 are Elders. They are seen as more susceptible to physical, emotional, and financial abuse, say groups who are trying to prepare communities for the attention that always follows people who are publicly known to have received large amounts of money.

The best defence against confidence schemes is prevention, say experts. Don’t expect con artists only to be strangers, either: it could be a family member, a friend, or someone in a position of power.

Some common scams to watch out for are: home repairs, free airfare or trips, big lottery wins involving a prize tax, fraudulent charity canvassers, prime debt financial instruments, loan referral schemes or car salesmen charging enormous interest or who run away with the down payment.

Public watchdog groups warn people to keep their personal information private, to be wary of deals that seem too good to be true, and to remember that they can and should always request a printed copy of any deal before they agree to it.

If you suspect someone is trying to scam you and you need help, call your local police or Phone Busters at 1-888-495-8501. Phone Busters is a national antifraud call centre, which works to educate the public about fraudulent telemarketing activities.