Senior Citizens – Beware Of Cybercriminals

Senior citizens, like children become easy targets for cybercriminals. Fear is a strong motivator used to wrangle data out of senior citizens, who do not want to suffer further inconveniences.

Vishing scams – where phone calls are used to get sensitive bank details or personal details out of senior citizens is one of the most prevalent scams. Data is aggregated from multiple sources including social media. For bank frauds, the concern is that there may have been leaks or breaches from the Bank front and many cases have been decided by the Adjudicating officer based on such premise. Seniors are induced to share their personal details and also OTPs (one time passwords) based on the fear that if they do not complete KYC (Know Your Customer) norms, their accounts would be blocked or that they will have to go to the bank to revive blocked accounts. This fear of punitive action and their health based reluctance to take the arduous task of stepping out to a bank makes them share information they would otherwise not share.

This is the same or similar modus used to cull out information about their medical insurance and to siphon money out

Tele marketing scams and ecommerce scams target the elderly, who find it difficult to step out for essentials. Ecommerce frauds include anti-aging products and also fake products.

Emails claiming that their friends, who were traveling are stuck in foreign lands because their purse and passports have been stolen is another classic standard scam. These however indicate that there may be instances of hacking to collate data before such frauds are committed.

Invoking sympathy for charity is another method of scam. Every single global disaster becomes an opportunity to the cyber criminal.

Internet scams such as an anti-virus software, which is actually a malware or virus; clicking on compromised websites, due to use of pictures on it; embedding malware in “cute” videos or pictures including on good morning and good evening messages are other crimes that not just elderly but all fall prey to.

That scam which could cause the largest damage however is the investment scam. These may be committed either using digital technology or physically.

When fabricated digital documents are created to commit such crimes; when calls or emails are sent to mislead the elderly and to defraud them of their life savings or retirement money; when any of the above or more crimes are committed, it is imperative that elderly get the benefit of law enforcement to protect them. This may be done by invoking many applicable provisions including under Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Information Technology Act, 2000 (as amended) (“IT Act”).

Section 420 & 416 IPC for instance may cover most of the offences set out above. When committed using digital means, Sections 66C and 66D IT Act may be invoked. These are just some remedies available to victims to seek recourse under.

Senior citizens should not hesitate to initiate action more so when they can now file their Criminal complaint on  cybercrime.gov.in . Every time a victim fails to file their complaint, it is just opening the way for the criminal to defraud many others. Victims therefore ought to act immediately. Be A Cyber Saathi.

The standard modus is to call a senior citizen, ask for personal details

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