Cops give seniors safety tips for virtual and real worlds
The police are knocking on senior citizens’ doors to talk to them about cyber security and personal safety in a major outreach programme. Nearly 150 such interactions have taken place in flats and public parks in the Borivli-Goregaon belt in less than a month. The objective is also to collate data on senior citizens living alone so they can be checked on by the police.
The most common fraud the elderly fall prey to is vishing, said the police. Vishing is where crooks pretending to be from a bank or a reputable company make a phone calls to people and talk them into revealing their card details.
Last year, a retired BEST employee was defrauded of Rs 1.1 lakh within a month of being issued a new credit card. The caller had posed as a government officer and gained his confidence by rattling off his name and address.
The elderly also fall prey to conmen offering help at ATMs and cloning their debit cards or misusing their PIN instead.
DCP (zone 11) Sangramsinh Nishandar said police officials were giving out helpline numbers and encouraging the elderly to get the antecedents of their domestic staff checked with the police.
In June, an octogenarian couple, Nanik and Daya Makhijani, was robbed and murdered at their Bandra flat. The police later detained the female caretaker of the couple along with her male friend.
“We are attempting to register every senior citizen, particularly those living alone,” Nishandar said.
Now, forms are being given out to the elderly.
During their interaction with the police, senior citizens stressed that road safety was a concern. Malad septuagenarian John Pinto said speeding vehicles and motorcyclists riding on the footpath posed serious risks to the elderly. “The local and traffic police need to jointly act on it,” he said.
Another Malad resident, Manvin Baptista (74), said there should be more high-resolution CCTV cameras around housing societies. “The police should make it mandatory for buildings to check the background of security guards. Often, guards are found to be involved directly or indirectly in crimes pertaining to senior citizens,” Baptista, an office bearer of the Orlem ALM, said.
Dr Kirti Khergamkar (76), a former BMC health officer, said it was important to keep checks on people visiting senior citizens living alone. “No visitors should be permitted unless the contact details are recorded,” Khergamkar said.