Murrindindi Shire Council is calling on our older community members to heed Consumer Affairs Victoria’s advice to avoid online scammers – “if in doubt, don’t”.
Australia generally has an ageing population and Murrindindi Shire has one of the higher ageing demographics in the State.
Community Services Portfolio Councillor Sandice McAulay said our older generations make attractive scam targets because they often have a strong asset base including life savings and superannuation.
“Our older citizens are also one of the fastest growing online user groups, as being online increases their opportunities to stay in touch with their families, friends and interest groups, and it reduces social isolation.
“Not only that, being online provides options for older people to correspond via email, watch videos or catch-up television, play games, access education opportunities or to research and make travel arrangements. It’s particularly handy if they have mobility or accessibility issues”, Cr McAulay said. “But on the flipside, life events such as financial hardship and recovering from illness, loss and trauma can also leave our senior citizens more vulnerable to online scams.”
Cr McAulay said anyone of any age, education, gender or cultural background can fall prey to scammers.
“Scammers are professional criminals and are highly practiced, smart and skilled at what they do. They might sound quite legitimate.”
According to Consumer Affairs Victoria, scammers are using more sophisticated tricks to dupe thousands of older Victorians every year.
“I would recommend our older community members keep an eye on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website (www.consumer.vic.gov.au) as well as the national watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch website (www.scamwatch.gov.au) to ensure they keep up to date with the latest scams,” said Cr McAulay.
In the meantime, here are some Consumer Affairs Victoria tips for staying safe online:
Do not open suspicious text messages, pop-up windows, or emails.
Be wary of any emails or requests on social media from people you do not know.
Avoid sending money, personal or financial details to someone you have never met in person, especially if you are dating online.
And remember; if in doubt, don’t!