Guide aims to improve senior cyber safety

A new online guide aimed at boosting seniors' cyber safety launches today.

The Get Online Savvy guide, created by the government's Consumer Fraud Working Group, documents common scams targeting the over-50s and provides general safe surfing tips.

Ministry spokesman Jarrod Rendle said older people were often sought out by scammers as they were likely to have their contact details available in databases and online, and typically had more money to spend on travel or investing in business opportunities.

"This situation makes them very vulnerable to certain online scams, some of which are sophisticated and appear very real.''

Unfamiliarity with online dating, social media or shopping websites and less awareness of the dangers of spam and phishing were also factors leaving the over-50s more susceptible to internet fraud, he said.

"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."

Mr Rendle also said one of the best ways to reduce the prevalence of scams was reporting suspicious activity. He advised all people, whatever their age, to pass details of any suspicious activities or scams to the Scamwatch website.

''Even though it may seem embarrassing, it helps us to warn and protect others.''

This week was Fraud Awareness Week, boosting public awareness after New Zealanders lost a reported $4 million to scams last year. The Consumer Fraud Working Group was a joint collaboration between The Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation, the Department of Internal Affairs and NetSafe.

Contact Olivia Wannan
Consumer Affairs reporter

The Dominion Post