Prague, June 15 (CTK) – The Czech police registered 754 cases in which old people were robbed or cheated in 2015 and they lost over 25 million crowns due to these crimes, representatives of the Interior Ministry and the Zivot 90 organisation focusing on support for senior citizens said on Wednesday.
Surveys showed that only one out of six of the victims reported the crime, they said.
Zivot 90 director Jan Lorman said the number of old people who become violence victims was increasing.
Alena Horakova, from the ministry’s section for security policy and crime prevention, said old people sometimes lose their life savings due to frauds and it has terrible consequences on their lives.
Horakova said the most frequent trick used to deceive the old people is an offer of cheaper electricity or gas supplies or cheaper phone calls.
She said the fraudsters have become more cautious. Unlike in the past, they do not enter people’s flats because they do not want to leave any fingerprints or other traces. They read the telephone directory of hardwired lines, choose people with first names that were popular several decades ago and call them. They started using a made-up story about a grandson who had an accident and badly needed money, Horakova said.
Most of the crimes were reported by the families of the victims, not by victims themselves.
Michal Kniha, from the senior help line that has been operating for ten years, said 475 old people called the line last year.
“It has turned out from the calls that most of the violence is committed by relatives. These are conflicts between generations, with their sons, daughters, granddaughters,” Kniha said.
The callers usually tell that they became a victim of violence only after making several calls. They are ashamed of the fact and afraid of the punishments from those on whom they depend and they consider the violence their own failure, he said.
Lorman said the violence may be committed by the younger generation even in defence. The carers do not want to torture or rob the pensioners, but they simply feel exhausted by the caring duties, he said.
Violence in old people’s home is a big problem, Lorman said. Lack of staff and their low salaries are sometimes behind the neglect and restrictions. Moreover, some facilities do not have the licence and the living conditions in them are unsuitable for clients, he said.
Lorman said it is crucial that elderly people have an emergency plan. They should know what they would do if they feel threatened, misused or harmed and whom they would address if the bad situation repeated.
He said Zivot 90 issued a brochure with useful contacts for seniors in need.