The effort to prevent elderly people from becoming victims of fraud continues with the debut of audio alerts during transactions at automatic teller machines in convenience stores.
The caution message on the ATM screen and the voice announcement is designed to alert the elderly to the possibilty they are being swindled. The warning screen appears at the beginning of the fund-transfer function. A loud spoken notification tells the user to have a trusted third party confirm the payee account is legitimate. The warning voice also advises the user to beware of cell phone calls that induce the user to hurry to the ATM to make an immediate transfer of money.
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The ATM convenience store anti-scam warning is aimed at stopping the most common con that targets senior citizens. In this crime, swindlers call the elderly and convince the target that an urgent transfer of money is necessary in order to prevent a family member from becoming deep in debt due to some imaginary scenario.
Crooks had been directing the victims to take their cell phone, go to a bank, and follow the perpetrator’s instructors at all times. Bank tellers became aware of the fraud and started asking senior citizens about large withdrawals at the counter. Then the con artists switched to sending the victims to ATMs at banks. Directing fraud victims to ATMs at convenience stores is the latest trickster tactic.
The Enet audible fraud warning is the first of its kind in Japan, and will eventually be in operation at more than 9100 ATMs in convenience stores nationwide.
To complement the alert from the ATMs, convenience store chains are also broadcasting fraud prevention information over their in-house public address systems.
In October 2008, Japan law enforcement officials conducted a nationwide effort to prevent the elderly from becoming victims of fraud. In early December, in another effort to combat cons, Chiba Bank installed cellular phone signal-jamming devices at 4 unmanned ATMs at bank branches in the Tokyo metropolitan area.