mid-day editorial: Don't get robbed in your silver age

Jul 29, 2017, 06:04 IST | mid-day correspondent

A South Mumbai couple in their silver age nearly ended up penniless after the wife – who was in her eighties – put her trust in the wrong man, who robbed them of Rs 1.14 crore

A South Mumbai couple in their silver age nearly ended up penniless after the wife - who was in her eighties - put her trust in the wrong man, who robbed them of Rs 1.14 crore. Posing as a helper, the conman started taking care of the accounts of the partially blind woman, who was rapidly losing her memory. This supposed helper fraudulently transferred all her accounts to his name, persuading her to give him power of attorney, so he could sell shares, liquidate fixed deposits, and finally filch the big sum. He is now cooling his heels in judicial custody, thanks to the woman's determined husband, who cottoned on to the scam and pursued the case till the very end.

This story has a lesson for senior citizens, who are especially vulnerable because their faculties may be failing, leading to errors in judgment. We read about so many crimes against seniors, such as break-ins and thefts, many of these perpetrated by domestic helps or even by those in the family. There are relatives who will take advantage of failing memory and flailing limbs in order to squeeze money or assets of the elderly. Even educated, well-read seniors can become targets for conmen.

It is important then for seniors to stay wary of outsiders offering help with accounts or financial matters. If their intuition — their most powerful tool that has been sharpened through years of experience — tells them there is something not quite right, they would do well to listen to it. If they have the means consult a lawyer, they must do so.

It is good to have a support system, through friends, old age groups and locals within the community if possible. However, do not trust easily and do not reveal your vulnerabilities or weaknesses to those you do not know. Use your experience and life's lessons to your advantage.

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