Cyber scam awareness for senior Kiwis

By Hadyn Smith
 CEO Crime Stoppers

Haydn Smi

From the outset, Transparency International NZ and Crime Stoppers wanted an event highlighting cyber-crime for New Zealanders who have come to the internet, texts or social media later in life. We wanted to alert them and give them a few tools to help them navigate new spaces while keeping themselves secure. We also didn’t want to detract from the many positive experiences that can be had on genuine internet platforms, with grandchildren, relatives and friends.

It is not often that an idea transforms from that early thought process through scrutiny by experts and then into a successful presentation. The Cyber Scam Awareness for Senior Kiwis that was live streamed on the 2nd of November to the nation was one such event.

The speakers were on point from start to finish. From the MC, Police Assistant Commissioner Sue Schwalger, to CERT NZ senior threat analyst Sam Leggett, to NetSafe CEO Brent Carey and cyber scam victim Dr Jordan Alexander backed up ZX Security founder, Simon Howard. They were all riveting for the audience and the over 220 live streamed viewers.

Everything was short, sharp and focused, and all the speakers understood that real stories and examples would be more likely to appeal to  the audience . Even Greg O’Connor MP, the sponsor for the event held at Parliament’s Grand Hall, pitched in with a reality check scam faced by his own relatives.

Feedback has been hugely supportive, but I believe the accurate measure of success is that all of the speakers are talking about how we can focus again in 2023 and present Cyber Scam Awareness for Senior Kiwis 2.

If you missed it, the recording and speakers notes are available at this link.

Short practical advice for being safe online

  • Never – ever - provide financial, personal or account information in response to an unsolicited contact by phone, text or email.
  • Never – ever - give money or financial information to someone you met online.
  • If an offer is too good to be true, it isn’t true

Use secure passwords and keep your devices up to date.

The way to be safe is simple. When you are approached online, pause, take a breath, maybe go have a cup of tea and think about how realistic the approach is.

Think about how you met this person.  If they approached you they probably have dishonest intent.

Financial scammers are incredibly good at spoofing (pretending to be) legitimate businesses.

Relationship scammers have created a $60 billion industry by learning effective techniques for building trust. If you have never actually met your “soul mate,” in person, they are unlikely to actually be your “soul mate”.

If you are contacted by what seems to be a bank or company asking you to click and login, don’t reply. Contact them directly using a known, reliable method to determine if the contact is legitimate.

Well organised schemes from around the world are now targeting a whole new set of victims. Senior Kiwis many who have rarely, if ever, been exposed to crime are now being targeted by a very wide range of scammers.These were key takeaways from the Cyber Scams awareness for Senior Kiwis seminar and webinar conducted by the Academy Group and sponsored by Crime Stoppers and Transparency International New Zealand.

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