The Good Life

Seniors safety online focus for workshop


Cyber Safety Workshop for Goodwin Ainslie residents

A Cyber Safety Workshop in partnership with Telstra’s volunteer digital ambassadors has educated Goodwin residents on how to protect themselves online and identify scams.

The workshop was tailored for seniors, who may have relatively less experience in the online environment and are therefore less aware of risks. Telstra’s digital ambassadors warned participants about “dodgy” online organisations who try to manipulate seniors into providing their account information to siphon their funds.

“It’s about safety and knowledge. We’re here to give seniors the skills, knowledge and confidence to use the internet safely,” said Ann Jakle, Telstra Community Engagement Specialist.

The Telstra digital ambassadors are part of a community volunteering program. “At Telstra every employee has one day a year to volunteer in the community. I realised there was a need to help seniors to get connected safely online, to mitigate social isolation which can be a problem for people as they become less mobile with age”, says Jakle.

“Knowing the care Goodwin provide to their seniors I was sure Goodwin management would be open to the digital ambassador program,” says Jakle.

“Telstra recently partnered with RMIT University, the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne, and Roy Morgan Research to create the Australian Digital Inclusion Index. The report looked at the gaps between digitally included and excluded Australians and showed seniors are the most excluded group in our communities and therefore the most isolated socially.  With this social isolation there can be a vulnerability and lack of knowledge about how to be safe online”, says Jakle

Jakle discussed a scam targeted toward seniors using an example from a Goodwin resident she had met. The woman had received a call from someone claiming to be from Telstra, offering to “clean” her computer system and install anti-virus software if only the woman would provide her account details. A quick call to Telstra confirmed suspicions that the caller was not who they claimed to be.

This kind of “phishing” can come in the form of emails to get people to disclose private information and provide access to their personal accounts.

Some “phishing” schemes that Telstra have been alerted to are people pretending they are from the Australian Taxation Office and claiming you have overpaid your tax bill and that they would like to refund your account and will do so as soon as you provide your account details.

Basically Jakle said “when something intuitively seems too good to be true, it probable isn’t legitimate”.

When emails come through mimicking an organisation, often it is so cleverly done, that even Sam Wilson, Telstra’s IT Security Analyst admitted it can be very hard to tell whether the company is dodgy. Wilson gave some tips on what to look for to discern whether the company is legitimate, she suggested looking at the logo and the web address, and to examine the way the information is written, if the spelling, grammar and punctuation are not right that can be a tell-tale sign”, she said.

One of the most important ways to stay safe online is through a secure password, participants were told.

“The best way to keep your passwords safe is through a mastercode password safe, called Glass Past and to regularly change all your passwords,” said Wilson.

In general the warning was not to put any personal details online. “You wouldn’t give your personal details to a stranger in the street so why give it to anyone online”, says Wilson.

Lisa McTiernan, Telstra’s Advisor Government Relations, said, “There is no need to be scared about being online just make sure your software is virus protected, be alert and smart online, and don’t open suspicious emails”.

Thank you very much to Telstra’s volunteer ambassadors for a very informative session.