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Cyber Awareness Month: The AFP wants YOU to talk to your grandparents about cyber security

Many observers have called the issue of cyber security a “whole-of-nation” challenge – and that means young and old both have something to do to keep Australia secure.

user icon David Hollingworth
Thu, 12 Oct 2023
Cyber Awareness Month: The AFP wants YOU to talk to your grandparents about cyber security
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To that end, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has teamed up with National Seniors Australia to provide easy-to-follow tips and advice for older Australians regarding staying safe in the digital age.

But there’s something we can all do – the AFP is calling on grandchildren of all ages to help their elders stay safe by sharing these three easy ABCs of cyber safety.

Avoid clicking on links sent in unsolicited email or text;
Block calls on mobile devices from suspected scammers; and,
Call your financial institution immediately if you identify a suspicious transaction or you believe your bank account has been targeted by cyber criminals.

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The AFP is also sharing a range of short videos on cyber safety with https://nationalseniors.com.au.

AFP acting Assistant Commissioner Cyber Command Paula Hudson believes that younger generations that have grown up with technology could make perfect teachers.

“Grandchildren – whether they are 20 or 40 years old – can be one of the greatest lines of defence for older generations when it comes to the online world,” acting Assistant Commissioner Hudson said in a statement.

“Today, we are asking Australians to have conversations with grandparents or parents about simple things they can do to protect themselves.

“One example could be showing seniors how to block a scam call on an iPhone. If you received a phone call or a text message that is clearly a scam – such as those claiming to be from a financial institution, utility company or a service you do not use – we advise you hang up immediately.”

One of the issues with older people is that they can sometimes feel like they are at fault and, therefore, are uncomfortable sharing any problems they may be experiencing.

“What we have found in the past is that some older Australians who have become the victim of cyber crime become embarrassed and blame themselves. Often, they do not tell anyone, and that’s what we need to change,” acting Assistant Commissioner Hudson said.

“We do not want any victim of crime to be ashamed. These tips and videos will hopefully empower all generations to stay cyber safe because anyone at any age can be targeted by cyber crime.”

Chris Grice, National Seniors Australia’s chief operating officer, feels that older Australians are particularly vulnerable when it comes to scams.

“Fear of scamming prevents many from engaging online,” Grice said.

“As one 70-year-old commented, ‘There are so many scams and hackers on digital services I would feel unsafe using one to do personal business.’

“We encourage seniors to take advantage of the valuable resources offered by the AFP and other government agencies and engage in conversations with trusted family members to help them online.

“As a community, we need to ensure that older Australians can participate online, and be safe doing so.”

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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