Call for papers: seniors and cyber crime

A symposium will discuss ways to help older people avoid scams and frauds both small and large, either in the real world or online.

By Stephen Easton

Ever since money has existed, scammers have come up with clever ways to trick others into handing it over, and these days many ply their devious trade on the internet, catching out inexperienced web users such as older people.

Many of us have been asked via email for a small payment to free a fortune from a Nigerian bank, just as hundreds of years ago it may have freed an imprisoned nobleman, perhaps described as a ‘Spanish prisoner’. You may be told you have won the lottery, or that you must ‘confirm your details’ for what appears to be your bank or credit card company. 

The Queensland Police are trying to help seniors avoid being scammed, and have invited the state’s aged care and retirement living providers to help by participating in a fraud prevention symposium in Brisbane on 30 and 31 August.

The symposium, called Protecting Seniors from Modern Threats, will be held at the Stamford Plaza in Brisbane by the Fraud and Corporate Crime Group (FCCG), part of the Queensland Police State Crime Operations Command, who have also issued a call for papers from any would-be presenters.

While some attempts to extract money online might seem hilariously unsophisticated compared to others, they are no joke to the people who fall for them. Many use a ‘scattergun approach’, while others are targeted at a particular person or type of person. 

Older people are among the vulnerable groups, often falling prey to both untargeted frauds, like scam letters and emails, and targeted ones like phantom investments for self-managed superannuation, according to Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Lisa Scully from the FCCG.

“There’s a lot of self-funded retirees these days with self-managed superannuation, so they’ve got access to significant funds, and they would be one group targeted by those sort of people,” she said.

The FCCG has taken a proactive approach to their task of preventing transnational fraud by raising public awareness, sharing knowledge and developing partnerships with industry and between different parts of the government.

Detective Scully said that educating people to know what to look out for was a more effective way of dealing with fraud than the traditional approach, of reacting to reports from people after they’ve parted with their hard-earned dough.

“We can help then with filtering out what is a scam and what is not, because they can look very legitimate. The bank emails look very real and the mail ones come printed and perforated, some of them with fraudulent cheques attached.”

FCCG detectives have issued a call for aspiring presenters to submit papers for the Protecting Seniors from Modern Threats symposium. Researchers, educators, content experts and industry stakeholders are invited to submit a presentation abstract by email to Detective A/Senior Sergeant Lisa Scully by 30 April. 

For more information contact Detective Scully on (07) 3364 6622.

Tags: aged, aged-care, ageing, detective-lisa-scully, email-scam, fraud-preventnion-symposium, fraudulent-email, fraudulent-letter, protecting-seniors-from-modern-threats, queensland-police, queensland-police-fraud-and-corporate-crime-group, queensland-state-crime-operations-command, retirement-living, retirement-village, self-funded-superannuation,

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