Aug. 29, 2018 (Courtesy of thestar.ca) – At 90 years old, Elizabeth Mary Mahoney is active and resourceful.
Knee replacements haven’t slowed her down. She lives alone in her rented Toronto condo near High Park, takes long walks, rides the TTC and attends an aqua-fitness class twice a week.
Short-term memory can sometimes play tricks, but she participates in a book club, regularly goes to the theatre in Stratford and is involved in fighting the expansion of a nearby condo highrise.
Recently, to the consternation of her four children, she used various modes of public transit to visit friends in Guelph, where she spent the early part of her retirement. She worked for years as the librarian for a Sarnia chemical company, after earning a bachelor degree in chemistry and a master’s in library sciences.
She also does her own banking, a usually straightforward activity that on July 4 proved fateful — a scam cost her a large part of her savings. Since then, she has tried — and failed — to get the Toronto-Dominion Bank to accept some responsibility, particularly since her $10,000 withdrawal was all cash.
Mahoney is a victim of the “grandmother scam,” one of several mass-marketing swindles that, together, bilked Canadians over 60 years old of $20 million in 2017. The actual amount defrauded is far higher: the RCMP-led Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that only 5 per cent of victims notify the centre.