Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

Tech handicapped, senior citizens easy prey for cybercrime

Cybercriminals target elderly people by impersonating trusted entities like banks, insurance companies, and investment firms, taking advantage of their inclination to seek assistance.

BENGALURU:  Tech illiteracy coupled with a sense of isolation, more free time, and a growing curiosity to explore technology has made senior citizens vulnerable to cybercrime. In a recent case, a senior citizen was defrauded of Rs 5.5 crore under the guise of helping him renew his lapsed insurance premium. In another case reported in the South-East division, a 65-year-old retired man lost Rs 39 lakh to online job fraud.

“Senior citizens are easy to victimize in the trap of cybercrime as they undergo dependency syndrome, which leads them to easily believe strangers,” said Bengaluru City Police Commissioner B Dayananda, referring to increasing cybercrime and online scams targeting senior citizens.

The commissioner added that senior citizens are ‘technically handicapped’, which makes them vulnerable to cyber fraud. “Cybercriminals deceive them while offering help with online tasks like shopping or filling out applications. Senior citizens are also extorted via recorded WhatsApp video calls, where they are lured into sexual content. Fearing reputation damage, they often choose payment over reporting to the police,” Dayananda said.

Speaking to TNIE, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-East division) CK Baba said senior citizens often experience a technology gap, which motivates them to explore technology to connect with their children or grandchildren. “Additionally, the increased availability of free time leads them to become unwitting victims of cybercrimes, especially online job frauds that expose them to fraudulent messages with malicious attachments.” 

Cybercriminals target elderly people by impersonating trusted entities like banks, insurance companies, and investment firms, taking advantage of their inclination to seek assistance as they feel people associated with these entities to be genuine, the officer said, emphasizing that senior citizens use easily guessable passwords and frequently save them on their phones. 

“They need to realize that this makes them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Messages with attachments often compromise their data and system, allowing cybercriminals to manipulate this information against the victims by threatening and defrauding them,” he said.

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The New Indian Express
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