July 17, 2024

The growing problem of scamming is becoming all too familiar, with countless people falling victim to fraudulent phone calls or texts. In response, many Australians are utilising a free, interactive digital tool to improve their digital literacy and identify scams.

Central Gippsland Health’s Sally Castle designed an interactive e-course called ‘It’s not funny! Don’t lose your money!’ after witnessing her elderly mother fall victim to scams. The course is a solution to a significant problem in her family—an educational tool aimed at improving skill sets through practice.

Developed over five months, this online tool offers users the opportunity to engage in real-life scam scenarios without real-life risks. Now Sally shares this e-course free of charge across the Gippsland community.

With billions lost to scams annually,Australia’s older population is highly susceptible. As the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission reported, phone scams accounted for $116 million of the total $2.74 billion lost in 2023. Australians also lost money through social media scams and text messages, which increased significantly in 2023.

While resources and warnings about scams are plentiful, numerous people still fall victim to fraud. The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission advises: STOP, CHECK, and REPORT if anything seems suspicious:

  • STOP – Don’t let a perceived urgency force you to act rashly.
  • CHECK – Could the message be fraudulent? Consult with a friend or family member before giving out information or money.
  • REPORT – If something doesn’t seem right, report it to Scamwatch as soon as possible.

Nonetheless, experts consider the scams epidemic to be a side effect of an evolving tech landscape. People of all ages struggle to keep up with emerging technologies, but more so the older generation.

Scammers use advanced technology and psychology to exploit their victims. Investment scams playing into excitement and quick wealth were most common in 2023, costing Australians around $1.5 billion. Others play on fear and urgency like tax scams, with phishing expeditions leading to a faux myGov sign-in pages, essentially stealing usernames and passwords.

People over 75 have reported declining levels of cyber awareness over the last three years. Consequently, Sally believes that making information accessible is essential. The ACCC states that being scammed isn’t the victim’s fault. Instead, certain factors make older Australians more susceptible – like trusts in authorities and limited exposure to digital literacy lessons.

As people encounter scams more frequently, it becomes easier to identify fraud. Those scammed can cast their experiences into lessons through platforms like Sally’s e-course, which is a practical tool in the fight against scams.

Related Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ‘It’s not funny! Don’t lose your money!’ e-course?

The online learning tool ‘It’s not funny! Don’t lose your money!’ is an interactive scenario-based e-learning course designed to help people practice and improve their abilities to identify and respond to various scam situations. The program uses a ‘choose your adventure’ model to present users with potential scam situations they can navigate without real-life risks.

Why are older Australians more likely to fall for scams?

Older Australians, according to reports and expert opinions, may be more susceptible to scams due to a higher level of trust in authority figures and less exposure to digital literacy education. They may also face challenges deciphering and understanding new and complex technological terms and concepts, leaving them vulnerable to scams.

How can the e-course help to prevent scams?

The e-course can help prevent scams by improving users’ digital literacy and awareness of scam tactics. The interactive, scenario-based system offers real-life situations in a safe virtual environment, allowing users to learn and develop their scam identification abilities. Furthermore, it encourages seeking information proactively and acting with caution rather than reacting hastily.

Eleanor, who fell victim to an online scam, states her experience left her feeling foolish and lost. Thankfully, her bank caught the fraud before she lost any money. Initially, she kept the incident secret, fearing her children may doubt her money managing capabilities. Now, she encourages others to talk openly about their experiences with scams to raise awareness and protect others.

Caroline Trevorrow, manager at the Heyfield Community Resource Centre, highlights the increasing intelligence and frequency of scams. The centre regularly hosts information sessions on scam prevention, identifying a high demand due to the fear and fascination the elderly community has with technology. One such program, ‘Don’t lose your money’, has been commended for its simplicity and usefulness.

In the photo below, you can see Sally presenting the e-learning tool at the Heyfield Community Resource Centre. Eleanor finds the e-learning program straightforward and has been sharing it with her friends. They likewise appreciate its simplicity.

![Sally’s Presentation](https://investmentshoax.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/Photo1_37545.jpg)

Based on the feedback, Ms. Trevorrow believes the program’s straightforward language and interactive nature is appealing to participants. She urges other centres to adopt similar programs.

Eleanor’s advice to others that have experienced scams is to be forthcoming and discuss their encounters openly to serve as warnings for others.

As for Sally, she will present ‘Don’t lose your money’ sessions at several locations on specific dates and times. Each session lasts about an hour and involves participant interaction, a run-through of the e-learning experience and a discussion on future steps upon realization of being scammed.

To access the ‘Don’t lose your money’ e-learning tool, click [here](https://www.sallyslearninglab.com/).

To report a cybercrime, click [here](https://www.cyber.gov.au/) or visit [ScamWatch](https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/).

If you’ve fallen victim to a scam and need help, contact IDCARE at: [IDCare](https://www.idcare.org/) or call: 1800 595 160.

### Frequently Asked Questions

1. ### What is the importance of discussing encounters with scams?

Open discourse about experiences with scams can raise awareness about the different types of scams and protect others by alerting them about what to look out for.

2. ### How are these information sessions helping in combating scams?

Information sessions like ‘Don’t lose your money’ help raise awareness about scams and educate participants in recognizing scams. They are designed to be interactive and simple, so they are easily understood by individuals, regardless of their digital literacy level.

3. ### What should I do if I become a victim of an online scam?

Immediately report the incident to the authorities. You can report a cybercrime [here](https://www.cyber.gov.au/) or contact [IDCare](https://www.idcare.org/) on 1800 595 160 for victim support.