Tech savvy seniors upskill to outsmart scammers

Tech savvy seniors upskill to outsmart scammers  Main Image

27 November 2023

Thousands of NSW seniors are learning critical skills to outsmart scammers and boost their digital literacy through the Tech Savvy Seniors program, which has just received $500,000 in funding.

Minister for Seniors Jodie Harrison said Scams Awareness Week (27 November - 1 December) is a timely reminder for seniors to brush up on their tech skills to avoid common traps such as ‘phishing’ (email cons) and ‘smishing’ (text message cons).

“Even the most cautious person can fall prey to a sophisticated scam and we know older people are most at risk,” Minister Harrison said.

“Tech Savvy Seniors covers a range of topics, including cyber safety, social media and online shopping. As well as helping seniors be wise to scams, the sessions improve overall digital know-how to keep seniors connected in an increasingly digital world.”  

According to Choice research, people aged 65 and over are losing more money to scams than any other age group, with phishing and remote access scams among the most common.

Tech Savvy Seniors participant Ian Kirkham gained a wealth of information from the course he attended at Epping Public Library.

“I have been using computers since the 1970s but there is always more to learn,” the retired engineer said.

“I’ve learned about phishing scams and phone scams and how to stay one step ahead of the scammers to protect myself.”

Another participant Lisa Jap said Tech Savvy Seniors has boosted her computer confidence.

“There is so much you can do online these days and I want to be part of it, but I want to be safe as well,” she said.

A partnership between the NSW Government and Telstra, Tech Savvy Seniors is offered in multiple different languages free of charge in NSW public libraries, and either free or at low cost through NSW community colleges.

City of Parramatta Council offers Tech Savvy Seniors courses at its public libraries, with Lord Mayor Pierre Esber noting it keeps the community connected.

“Whether you are struggling with a new smartphone or computer, the Tech Savvy Seniors program at Parramatta libraries is designed to help make it easier,” Cr Esber said.

“With scams becoming more sophisticated, our seniors need to arm themselves with the best information, so they don’t get stung. The courses are also a way to meet other people in our community, making it great for mental health.”

More than 134,000 seniors have taken part in Tech Savvy Seniors since 2012.

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