Real Police Protect Real Old
Elderly people using cell phones at automatic teller machines in banks, convenience stores, and train stations are being questioned by police in Japan during a month-long nationwide anti-scam campaign.
The October effort is to prevent senior citizens from becoming victims of phone swindles. In one kind of scam, con artists call the elderly, convince them that a family member – usually a son – is in trouble, and money is needed to settle the matter. Often the swindler convincingly poses as the desperate son.
Scammers had instructed seniors to withdraw cash at the bank and bring it to a specified location for the handover or wait at home for the money to be picked up.
When bank tellers started to become aware of the fraud, they began asking senior citizens about large withdrawals at the counter. Subsequently, the fraudsters started sending the elderly to ATMs, either to withdraw cash, or to electronically transfer funds from the ATM to the swindler’s acccount, all the while giving their targets instructions via cell phone. Victims were sometimes told to send the cash by postal packet or express delivery service.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is continually manning 1,000 ATMs. Officers are regularly patrolling 11,000 other ATM locations. The MPD has deployed 6,000 police officers for the operation.
But the Yomiuri Shimbun reports senior citizens have been conned during the anti-scam campaign. The paper says that of 94 scams reported as of mid-October, 16 incidents transpired at ATMs under police watch. The swindlers got away with almost 17 million yen, and one victim gave 2.98 million yen to the con artists.
The newspaper said the MPD is looking for effective ways for police and bank staff to communicate with pensioners to ensure sure they do not become victims of a scam. related: Evolving scams
Tokyo MPD: 42,984 officers. Population: 12,790,000. Officers per capita: 1 officer per 297 people. source
New York City: 37,838 officers. Population: 8,274,527. Officers per capita: 1 : 218 source
London: 31,073 officers. Population: 7,560,000. Officers per capita: 1 : 243 source
Seoul: 24,736 officers. Population: 10,421,78. Officers per capita: 1 : 421 source
photos: (Yomiuri 7-11; Suginami.) (Two cops)