A thief at the door: scammers go to pensioners disguised as social workers

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In the Kaluga region, they are investigating a case of theft of about 500 thousand rubles from a pensioner. To get into the apartment of an elderly woman, the scammers pretended to be employees of the Pension Fund of Russia and promised the gullible pensioner cash payments and preferential vouchers. According to experts, this type of fraud is one of the three most “popular” types of fraud against the elderly. How not to become a victim of false social workers and protect your loved ones from this – in the material of Izvestia.

Cheating undercover

In Obninsk, Kaluga region, operatives are investigating a criminal case opened on the fact of theft of a large sum of money from a pensioner, the regional department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported. According to law enforcement officers, the elderly woman was called on a landline phone and reported about the alleged upcoming changes in the pension system.

After that, a woman came to her home, introduced herself as an employee of the Pension Fund and told about the monetary payments due to the pensioner and preferential vouchers to the sanatorium. Believing the pseudo-FIU worker, the woman let her into the apartment to complete the contract. However, soon after that, the pensioner discovered the loss of about 500 thousand rubles.


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According to the investigation, the fraudster worked in pairs, and while she was distracting the elderly woman, her accomplice entered the apartment and stole the money. A criminal case has been initiated on this fact. At the moment, investigative actions and operational search measures are being carried out.

Stories like this happen almost weekly. At the end of September, police and investigators in the Tver region managed to prove the man’s involvement in the robbery episodes: he entered the homes of lonely pensioners under the guise of a social worker and robbed them.

On request only

As Izvestia was told in the press service of the Kaluga Region branch of the Pension Fund of Russia, more and more reports began to arrive at their department that people who introduce themselves as specialists of the Pension Fund and asked to sign any documents were coming home. However, the Pension Fund emphasizes, the PFR employees do not go door to door and do not conduct any conversations on the stairwells.


Photo: RIA Novosti / Alexander Kondratyuk

Visiting pensioners at home who, for health reasons, cannot visit the PFR specialists, is possible only upon prior request. All employees of the FIU have a corresponding certificate, – indicate in the press service. – Reception of the population is organized directly and in the client services of the territorial body of the PFR at the place of residence. The management of the PFR branch informs local authorities in advance about the field receptions, which usually take place in rural (settlement) administrations.


Alexander Kuzmicheva, the coordinator of the Starost in Joy Foundation, told Izvestia that the fraudsters have been disguising themselves as social workers for several years already, as pensioners themselves regularly report.… “For about eight years, we have had an advisory telephone line for the elderly, where they consistently address complaints about fraudsters of this kind. They also complain about those who knock on the door under the guise of meter inspectors – representatives of the housing office. Sellers who offer medicines for all diseases, household appliances, etc. are also in the lead, and older people are sold for 5 thousand something that costs 200 rubles on a Chinese website. In the most cynical case, the pensioners are immediately issued loans.

What can be done to protect oneself: firstly, if an elderly person lives independently, it is necessary to make sure that the number of the territorial department of the integrated center of social services for the population is stuck on the wall right next to the front door or on the phone. In general, in the country, social assistance is of a declarative nature: until you apply, you will not be offered anything, and if someone offers, they are cheating. But in Moscow, social services do sometimes work proactively. If you constantly use the services of a social worker and then a new one comes to you, first of all do not hesitate to ask for a certificate, but since they are faked and bought if you wish, in any case you need to call the appropriate social center and make sure that this person is really there working. In general, all current phones should be in plain sight, and if a call comes in or someone knocks on the door for an elderly person, then he must understand that either he immediately calls his younger relative to find out, or he calls himself and clarifies – at least to the management company about the counter, at least about the social worker.

social worker

Photo: TASS / Yuri Smityuk

In addition, real social workers may have their own secret agreements with elderly people, for example, code words so as not to accidentally open the door to a stranger, Igor Korneev, head of the regional department of the Union of Pensioners of Russia in Moscow, added in a conversation with Izvestia.

As for the volunteers of charitable foundations, not all of them, in principle, visit the homes of the elderly, Kuzmicheva notes. “For example, our foundation does not send volunteers to apartments at all, precisely because we are not ready to ensure the safety of both parties – both the elderly and the volunteers themselves. If we start accepting volunteers by ad, then we do not know who will come and how to check these people. A person can help two or three pensioners to divert their eyes, and then harm someone. We do not have the authority to check someone thoroughly. At the same time, there are a lot of risks for the volunteers themselves: the emergence of asocial relatives who consider them a threat to the elderly, claims from the elderly themselves, and so on, ”says the coordinator of the Old Age in Joy Foundation.

Enlightenment versus gullibility

Today, many foundations and unions are fighting the gullibility of retirees and teaching them how to distinguish scammers from real social workers and volunteers. “We hold weekly meetings in the health and longevity club, where we discuss these issues, and also teach the elderly people financial and legal literacy. We also invite various experts, civil servants who talk about how not to become victims of fraudsters. In general, we are constantly conducting explanatory work, ”said Igor Korneev.


Photo: TASS / Stanislav Krasilnikov

The same talks are held at the Union for the Protection of the Elderly, says its leader, Nina Anisimova. “We are constantly talking with the activists of our organization about this – now by phone, and before that in our house of veterans. Firstly, there have been cases that we will certainly cite as an example, and also always disseminate information from our city committee about such incidents. We had several people who were deceived, they tried to catch them, but, unfortunately, they failed. “, – shares Nina Anisimova.

In general, all specialists, as well as employees of the branch of the Pension Fund of Russia, remind that citizens of all ages need to be vigilant when dealing with strangers who come to your home.

– Follow simple rules. If suspicious citizens who claim to be employees of the FIU or other government agencies knock on your door, do not let them into your house or apartment. Do not show your documents to unknown people. Don’t sign, without looking, any papers. Do not give them your money under any circumstances, – remind in the branch of the PFR in the Kaluga region.

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