Internet expert Evan Connell tells us how we can keep safe from an internet scam.

Scams. After a long career on the internet, I am now starting to give talks on how to keep yourself safe from online scammers. Why? Because this is an issue that particularly affects the Over-50s. Many are susceptible to scammers, simply because they are not digital natives. And, they don’t fully understand how the internet works, and how easily you can be scammed.

Here’s how I arrived at the decision to lecture in online safety.

An associate of mine, Margaret Hadfield is the owner of several galleries, including one called Bitcoin Fine Art Gallery. This is an innovative, experimental business where all artworks can be purchased online using Bitcoin. My office is next door to one of Margaret’s art galleries.

One day, an elderly gentleman arrived at the gallery. He was 94 years old, and walked with a walking frame. He was delivered to the gallery via a taxi, but asked the taxi to wait outside for him.

Scams with Crypto

This elderly gentleman had Googled “Bitcoin” on the internet. I had optimised Margaret’s website to be found when someone did this, so the old man decided that’s where he would go to ask some questions.

Says Margaret, “He walked into the gallery and asked about sending Bitcoin to somewhere in North Africa. Shocked and suspicious, I sat him down and gave him a cup of coffee, and I texted Evan to come and help me work out what was going on before he left. I endeavoured to find out more information about this old man wanting to buy Bitcoin to send to the other side of the world.

“I was very suspicious. He told me a friend of his he had known since the Battle of Midway wanted the money. This man goes on to tell me he was a fighter pilot, waging war over the Solomon Islands. I believed his story. His story rings true on the internet as well. And my friend, who is a Doctor of Military History actually knows of him.

“So here is this elderly gentleman, with an amazing war story. They have made movies about the particular dogfight he was in. And he was sitting in my gallery. I’m plying him with coffee and talking to him and making him feel good, dying for Evan to arrive to help me sort this all out. When he started saying that his friend was on the Ivory Coast and wanting the Bitcoin it just didn’t sound safe at all.”

Does this sound suspicious?

Of course it does. I arrived to discover that this elderly man wanted me to take his money, buy Bitcoin, and send it to the Ivory Coast in Africa. Then, I sent the taxi away, fairly certain that the taxi driver was in on the scam.

I read the email which asked him to send the Bitcoin. To an elderly man with little experience of the internet, it might not have been suspicious at all. But to me, a seasoned internet professional, it was obviously a scam. When we challenged him and told him it was a scam, he actually got quite angry with us. After all, it is easier to fool someone than it is to prove to them that they’ve been fooled. But we were not going to let this go until he was safe.

I called the police and reported the scam. I also managed to find out where this man was living. He was in an aged care facility. I spoke to a manager there and made sure he got back safely and that he wasn’t a victim of any more scamming. Sadly, the care manager said that he had Alzheimer’s although he was highly functional and can seem reasonable at times. They came and picked him up, and agreed he needed special care around this situation so it wouldn’t happen again.

The Scam Continues

We found out subsequently that he had already sent gold and silver bullion to the scammers before meeting us. He thought he was speaking with his old war mates, but in reality, he had been ripped off terribly.

Anyone can get scammed these days, not just older members of our community.

Here are some things to keep in mind while online:

-Never click on a link from an email.

– Always check who the email is from.

-No bank will ask you to pay in Bitcoin.

– Scammers target older people. They have a lot more time and often they are lonely and like to chat.

– Older people don’t understand how to check things out as fast as digital natives.

– Scammers assume that older people have a lifetime of savings in their bank.

– Older people aren’t as savvy with all things internet like younger people are, so they tend to be more trusting of younger people telling them how to manage their online life.

And finally, Microsoft will never call you and ask to remotely link to your computer.  

SENIOR SCAM ALERT

Worried about being scammed on the web? Internet expert Evan Connell will be coming to the Gold Coast soon to give seminars on how to navigate the intricate world of the internet. This course is specifically designed for senior citizens.

What you will learn

-Recognizing if the email you received is a scam

-How internet scammers find out information about you

-How to avoid losing your money through internet scams

Keep an eye on our website, silvermagazine.com.au or register your interest at info@sunkissmedia.com.au

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