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Japan considering restricting senior citizens’ access to ATMs

56 Comments
By SoraNews24

For a while now there have been scores of cases in which a con artist will somehow dupe a person into transferring money. There are a lot of different methods that these scammers use to get their hands on the cash, but most often the targets are seniors led to believe a family member is in dire need of money.

And with seniors becoming regular users of mobile phones, criminals are able to get in their ear remotely and walk them through the process of emptying their bank account from an ATM step by step. Thanks to some quick-thinking employees and bystanders, a few would-be victims have been saved just as they were punching in their PIN codes, but others are not so lucky. In the first half of this year alone, there have been over 15 billion yen in damages from these kinds of scams.

Apparently, it’s becoming such a big problem that the Japanese government is considering stepping in and limiting how all seniors can use ATMs. On July 26, it came to light that the National Police Agency has proposed locking ATM use for any bank account held by someone over 65 years of age that hasn’t had a transaction in over one year.

▼ A news report with some person-on-the-street reactions from seniors

Elderly people, naturally, were not thrilled about the news, telling reporters that setting limits on only seniors wasn’t fair and that setting the cut-off age at 65 seemed especially arbitrary. It’s been reported that the banking industry isn’t crazy about the idea either since it requires them to restrict their own customers and involves costly upgrades.

Online comments, most of which were probably made by people under 65, weren’t quite as opposed to the fraud countermeasure. Some, however, wonder if it might be a slippery slope towards government overreach into all of our bank accounts.

“I don’t think this [idea] is bad. We got scammers teaching them to use ATMs over the phone.”

“They can still go to the counter. They probably prefer that anyway.”

“The con artists will just find another way. They always do.”

“Some banks already limit how much can be withdrawn in a single day.”

“There are people in their 40s and 50s who get scammed pretty easily too.”

“This sounds like yokinfusa to me.”

Yokinfusa (meaning “account lockdown”) is a Japanese term that describes a blanket freezing of citizens’ assets by the government, either by imposing withdrawal limits or imposing incredibly high taxes on any bank transaction. It was done in post-war Japan to curb hyperinflation and the idea tends to pop up now and again as a possible solution to the country’s ongoing economic malaise.

It’s probably a little too early to be pointing the yokinfusa finger since this is still just a proposal, and a widely disliked one at that. But if you’re near or over 65 and still feel you have your wits about you enough to not be taken by some grifter, it might be a good time to consider diversifying into other forms of cashless payment services.

Sources: TV AsahiKyodoGolden Times

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Elderly Japanese man keeps ATM PIN on paper in wallet, but it’s the thieves who should be worried

-- Four foreign men arrested near Tokyo under charges of “international romance fraud”

-- Old Japanese woman gives over 80 million yen to scam artist in new case of Japan’s oldest scam

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

56 Comments
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Another excuse for bank to restrict people to get their money.

National Police Agency has proposed locking ATM use for any bank account held by someone over 65 years of age that hasn’t had a transaction in over one year.

“They can still go to the counter. They probably prefer that anyway.”

The problem that many online bank just don't have counter, just in case they have no idea about that.

8 ( +24 / -16 )

Giving the government the authority to dictate when and indeed if you are able to access your finances, simply because you are of a particular age, is an issue of serious concern.

Let's for a moment remove the subject from the story and think about the meaning behind it: the Trudeau government of the once-great nation of Canada was the last to freeze the bank accounts of its citizens. It was such a despicable infringement of civil liberty that one of Canada's five Big Banks eventually apologized for their role in the crackdown, which severely harmed the country's international reputation.

We should never wish Japan to follow this path of allowing "Big Brother" to arbitrarily and illogically judge that people are unable to think for themselves and access their own, hard-earned finances.

Stop this inch before it becomes a mile.

22 ( +35 / -13 )

that setting the cut-off age at 65 seemed especially arbitrary.

yeah, what else is new? This age was probably determined by a bunch of 70's aged old men who still dont have any control over their own money, as it's their wives who do it all for them!

-2 ( +16 / -18 )

Yokinfusa (meaning “account lockdown”) is a Japanese term that describes a blanket freezing of citizens’ assets by the government, either by imposing withdrawal limits or imposing incredibly high taxes on any bank transaction. It was done in post-war Japan to curb hyperinflation and the idea tends to pop up now and again as a possible solution to the country’s ongoing economic malaise.

Yeah, but let's not forget that in post-war Japan there were no ATM's and hyper inflation was a real threat.

The terminology needs to be updated as well, because the purpose is not what is stated here!

19 ( +21 / -2 )

how tyrannical Japan is becoming trying to dictate and regulate. No bank should have any authority to tell you when and how you can take your money out of their banks

18 ( +31 / -13 )

There are people in every age group who can and are scammed, and many over 65’s who are savvy enough to not fall for these scams. This is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. There is no justification for the government interfering to blanket restrict the freedom of an arbitrary group so as to solve a comparatively minor problem. Education of the most at risk groups and indeed the population at large will alert them to the risks and arm them to resist falling victim.

30 ( +30 / -0 )

It is only a small percentage of the 30 million odd seniors who are getting scammed. A more active approach to education and awareness would be better than setting up restrictions that will effect everybody over 65.

27 ( +27 / -0 )

And that’s one reason I don’t use banks so often, this is why I don’t trust government, who the heck do these people think they are?

11 ( +21 / -10 )

Now imagine CBDCs (central bank digital currencies) or digital yen being already rolled out. One click by government and all your access is severed, no need for discussions. Scary.

14 ( +21 / -7 )

Older people are more likely to want or need to stick with cash. This forces them to use digital or starve when bank branches close. Unpleasant. Governments and corporates should stop destroying the quality of our society just to save a few bucks. Retain cash, services, human-based customer services and a society that isn't restricted to doing everything on a smartphone that can be tracked and monitored 24/7. Japan's elderly people hold reserves of cash and electoral power. They need to flex those muscles.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

It could encourage people to keep larger sums of money at home, out of fear, they might not be able to access their savings.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Overdoing it. It will cause more burdens and problems than it will solve.

22 ( +22 / -0 )

This will encourage more senior citizens to pull out all their money and have it stored in their house somewhere. Scammers and other criminals cannot be stopped, they will adapt to the new environment and proceed to do criminals activities with what is given to them. Hopefully this new law won't encourage those criminals to move from the "Ore Ore Sagi" to home invasions. That would be a scary thought.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

65 is not that old!

20 ( +22 / -2 )

A better idea would be if the government made more effort to go after the scammers with the draconian punishment of long prison sentences to deter those tempted.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

Rick,you should have many grip stack inside your house,if you know what I am talking about

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

I do not want any restrictions on my access to ATMs.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

bass4funk

And that’s one reason I don’t use banks so often, this is why I don’t trust government, who the heck do these people think they are?

If you do not use banks where do you keep your money and how do you pay your mortgage and bills?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

This will encourage old people to keep even more money in a box under the bed...

Nothing could possibly go wrong with that.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

To propose a "solution" such as this, just goes to show how down bad Japan is in 2023.

-7 ( +11 / -18 )

And yet over 65 year old citizens are encouraged to keep working! How will they manage their payments without ATM access? Another less than intelligent idea from J-Gov and J-police.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Wallace,you pay it with a grip,bank teller have access to all your data,you home address,your telephone number,where you shop,even a Triple X porn shop,I know a bunch of bank teller personally,I would never bank ,where they work Google What Bank Teller Know About You

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

...the Japanese government is considering stepping in and limiting how all seniors can use ATMs.

.....National Police Agency has proposed locking ATM use for any bank account held by someone over 65 years of age that hasn’t had a transaction in over one year.

Maybe the Jgov needs to keep their business out of people's private business regardless of how old they are.

It's their money. The vast majority of them handle their money just fine. I wouldn't want this overreaching beuracracy to tell me whether I can use an ATM or online banking or not.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

YrralToday 09:35 am JST

Wallace,you pay it with a grip,bank teller have access to all your data,you home address,your telephone number,where you shop,even a Triple X porn shop,I know a bunch of bank teller personally,I would never bank ,where they work Google What Bank Teller Know About You

You need to use Grammarly. It's free.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

In this context, the intention behind restricting ATM access for senior citizens could be to limit their exposure to potential scams that exploit their vulnerabilities. Striking the right balance between protecting vulnerable citizens and safeguarding their independence and financial rights will be crucial in formulating effective and fair policies. Additionally, providing support and resources to help seniors adapt to digital banking technologies could be a more inclusive approach rather than restricting their access outright. The government should consider alternative ways to address concerns while ensuring that the needs and rights of senior citizens are met and respected.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

You might need a lawyer

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

People are naive ,bank have to power to flag transaction,they deem suspicious without any evidence and immune from civil damage

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Wallace,you pay it with a grip,bank teller have access to all your data,you home address,your telephone number,where you shop,even a Triple X porn shop,I know a bunch of bank teller personally,I would never bank ,where they work Google What Bank Teller Know About You

Yrral always good for a fresh hot take and he is right.

Banks are a plague and never have the customers best interests in mind. Using the account holders assets for leveraged acquisitions, getting bailed out by the public treasury, and charging account holders fees for the privilege.

Scammers scamming scammers.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I have yet to see the Japanese government do anything that was efficiently well-run, not rife with corruption and prone to gaffes and leaks. Now this same gaggle of bumbling fools want to decide when I can access my money! Nooooo waaaaaay!

-3 ( +15 / -18 )

The government trying to get their hands on the money before other scammers do!

@Yrral- Why use the word grip? Why don't you just say cash? Not everyone is familiar with this term.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

If we can ban kids from doing things because we don't think they have the mental capacity, in principle there can be little objection to banning older people on the same pretext. Further

On July 26, it came to light that the National Police Agency has proposed locking ATM use for any bank account held by someone over 65 years of age that hasn’t had a transaction in over one year.

It targets a limited group. By using the ATM at least once a year, you can keep your ability to continue using it. One has to admit the sudden use of an ATM by someone who hasn't used it for years is highly unusual and can justify special scrutiny.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Banks have been scamming their customers for countless decades but they have never been held accountable, and they do it the world over so it is nothing new. Now we live in an age of almost no cash usage everything is done online with wonderful smart phones which are very vulnerable to viruses and scammers. Luckily I do not own one of these 'wonderful' devices and even my mobile phone is switched off almost permanently. I do however use a direct debit card but never a credit card, I check my account every day to make sure its all ok. I have just remembered that in the past 6 months I have received 3 phone calls from scammers, all 3 were the same, bank scammers, telling me that someone had just purchased something with my card from amazon worth over £1300, all they ask is for me is to confirm my details, I just hang up after a few encouraging words from myself. I have never bought anything from amazon, so they obviously are not from my bank. But i do always check my account just afterwards.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The big big problem with this is that it violates human rights.

You can not restrict anybody of any age using a cash machine.

They will need to think of a more unviolating approach to solve this problem.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

The big big problem with this is that it violates human rights.

It would be a big problem, but in Japan it is not difficult to find other examples of routine violations of human rights, so it is not so unbelievable for this to be used.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

most often the targets are seniors led to believe a family member is in dire need of money.

I've never understood how people of any age fall for this oh-so-common scam. Who sends money blindly to people who say they're related to you? Truly a WTF scenario.

It has even spread to other countries. A few years ago, some supposedly intelligent Silicon Valley tech execs fell for a similar scam. Unbelievable.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Over 65? That is not that old!

13 ( +14 / -1 )

65 is the new 55 for many.

Across the Western world, many are tricked out of their money and life savings including educated people like professors and doctors. How do they fall for the scams?

It might help if families speak to their elderly relatives and set up a password system for when one of them calls them.

The government needs to send out info to all elderly people.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Instead of going after the scammers, let's punish the potential victims. Who in the Japanese government comes up with such ridiculous ideas? Why stop at 65 and over? Lets restrict everyone from using an ATM.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

A simple solution would to just allowing an account holder to set it up so that when depositing to an unknown account, it takes 48 hours before the receiver actually gets their money. Transactions could then be easily stopped by either the bank or the person or family if they feel the transaction was fraudulent.. There have been times when I wished I had access to this function myself.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is very similar to the way US banks protect themselves and clients from fraud to limit damage due to identity fraud by criminals. It sounds intrusive but it is simply knowing your client and when transactions out of the normal are initiated it creates a redflag that would pause the use at point of sell. I worked for a financial institution and though it's not a perfect system it saved many clients from getting cleaned out and or minimized damage that fraudsters would otherwise perpetrait on unsuspecting victims. This article is just not doing service to the benefit of it and or the scope of making it about age makes it sound worse than it is.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

tora

A simple solution would to just allowing an account holder to set it up so that when depositing to an unknown account, it takes 48 hours before the receiver actually gets their money. Transactions could then be easily stopped by either the bank or the person or family if they feel the transaction was fraudulent.. There have been times when I wished I had access to this function myself.

Yes, that would be one good solution and easy to implement.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I have been harassed and my smartphone was broken by one of the gaijin touts in Shinjuku almost five years ago. Do you know what happened after I went to Koban? Lazy, incompetent police told me they can't do anything about it and I shouldn't crossed that street because it's so dangerous. Dude, it's in front of Robotto restaurant and one of the most busiest streets in Japan. What a solution huh...

So, I'm not surprised with this solution either.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

@toraToday  02:47 pm JST

The idea of these scams is to speed-rush the victim, making him believe he needs to hand over the money. Now. Not two days later. The same panic that makes him rush to the ATM in the first place will cause him to override or disable any time-based protections. Further, there's always a small but finite chance that it is for real (this possibility is why these schemes work at all), and no bank will want to be the one who caused severe consequences by being the party to hold up a truly time critical transaction.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I know my relatives, I would instantly spot someone claiming to be them. Talk or visit them sufficiently frequently to know their voices well.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As a 65+ retiree who uses an ATM and a debit card regularly, I hate the term 'vulnerable'. I'm anything but, and whitewashing everyone my age and older is a pathetic ploy being used by the stupidest of people.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The idea of these scams is to speed-rush the victim, making him believe he needs to hand over the money. Now. Not two days later.

Which is why I am saying allow opt in. Especially for those who hardly move money around like a lot of the elderly. For you, you are welcome to carry out your transactions as per usual. Think of I'd like a safety net for those who want it. Always thought it ridiculous how once you deposit money here it's gone and banks/authorities etc seem to want nothing to do with it.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

When people are old, hard of hearing, and not 100% mentally alert, it's easy to be tricked and conned.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

""On July 26, it came to light that the National Police Agency has proposed locking ATM use for any bank account held by someone over 65 years of age that hasn’t had a transaction in over one year.""

Someone just FARTED , anyone one that locks my money I will move it out, that simple.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Instead of punishing the victims how about going after the criminals !! instead.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Cell providers can TACK and ID. scammers in no time, so why aren't they blocking their numbers and putting them out of business? and why isn't the police going after them

1 ( +5 / -4 )

It does say "if there hasn't been a transaction for one year". So it doesn't sound so bad.

A slight bit of knee jerk reaction I think.

Maybe if it hasn't been used in one year, drop the daily ATM withdrawal limit to 50万. That's not unreasonable for any account of an age.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan considering restricting senior citizens’ access to ATMs

In a word - don't. You're creating a legal nightmare and more than satisfying any fly-by-night ambulance-chasing lawyer's dream. Whoever concocted this idea; while maybe in good intent trying to protect folks from scammers, has absolutely no idea what the Japanese Constitution prohibits. The idea of imposing this only on the elderly (not sure when 65 suddenly became "elderly" BTW) violates SEVERAL articles of their Constitution (nearly a third of the Articles of 14 - 44 that prohibit age-based discrimination).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is about state control over your money

Seniors in Japan have large reserves of cash that the government would sorely like to take part of

I keep my assets well outside Japanese juridical control due to all these recent proposals

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kurisupisu

I keep my assets well outside Japanese juridical control due to all these recent proposals

You are legally required to declare them on your tax returns. I guess you do not but then you complain about government services.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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