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Guide launched to help seniors avoid online scams

Media release
20 June 2013

Guide launched to help seniors avoid online scams

A new guide has been launched to educate seniors about online scams, coinciding with Fraud Awareness Week, currently underway.

Get online savvy’  -  A Guide for Seniors contains a wealth of information on the types of scams targeting people over 50 years of age and tips on how to surf the internet safely.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s Scamwatch spokesman Jarrod Rendle says people in this age group may have more money to invest or be seeking online business opportunities; they may travel more frequently than other age groups; and they may be more likely to have their personal details on databases.

“This situation makes them very vulnerable to certain online scams, some of which are sophisticated and appear very real. They aim to take advantage of those who are new to booking travel and accommodation online; are new to the internet dating scene; are looking to invest overseas; or perhaps are less adept at using social media or aware of the dangers of spam and phishing.

“Some people have lost hundreds of dollars, had their holidays ruined or been sold fake tickets to a big rugby game, while others have lost tens of thousands of dollars or their entire life savings.

“The guide takes you through a range of scams aimed at those 50 years and over, what suspicious activity to look out for and how to protect your computer and yourself.

“But sometimes the best defence against scams is to warn others. If you, or someone you know has been targeted by a scam then report it immediately to Scamwatch (www.scamwatch.govt.nz) and help prevent others from becoming a victim. Even though it may seem embarrassing, it helps us to warn and protect others.”

The guide has been created by the cross-agency Consumer Fraud Working Group, which was formed last year to share resources and better identify and publicise consumer fraud and scams. It is made up of MBIE’s Consumer Affairs team, the Department of Internal Affairs' Electronic Messaging Compliance unit and NetSafe.

The Working Group will also be speaking at SeniorNet’s national AGM in Wellington on June 26 and developing training material that will be rolled out at SeniorNet workshops in the coming months.

SCAMS – Get online savvy – A guide for seniors is available at: www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/scams/faw2013

ENDS

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