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Stay One Step Ahead of Scammers

The other week we were visiting a community on the Central Coast in NSW. It is not uncommon for there to be a notice board near reception which contains all sorts of information brochures for residents to collect.

One of which stood out was ‘The Little Black Book of Scams.’

It reminded me of some of the challenges I faced as a Village Manager when it came to safeguarding residents from the growing number of scams aimed at seniors.

Scammers often see seniors as easy targets due to their trusting nature and potential lack of familiarity with modern technology. They use tactics that prey on their vulnerabilities such as phone calls impersonating government officials or bank branches, online phishing schemes, posing as utility companies threatening to cut off services or fake charities soliciting donations. Not to mention all the text message scams that we get every other day it seems, especially leading into Christmas.

When you consider the many hats we wear as a Village Manager, in recent years it has become critical that we stay on top of what is outside our community and equip ourselves with the necessary resources to protect our residents.

I found it was up to us to take the lead educating residents and enhancing their awareness. Below are some of the many initiatives we can take as Village Managers.

  1. Guest Speakers: Invite local police community engagement officer or representatives from organisations like Scamwatch (run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) to give presentations on common scams and how to protect against them. These experts can provide valuable insights and tips to our residents.
  2. Community Newsletter: Create a dedicated section in our community bulletin or newsletter to share information about recent scams and prevention tips. Regular updates will keep residents informed and vigilant.
  3. Tech Support: Offer technology assistance sessions to help residents navigate the internet and their devices safely. Many scams originate online, so empowering seniors with digital literacy can be a powerful defence.
  4. Online Resources: Provide access to online resources such as the official Scamwatch website, which offers up-to-date information on scams and how to report them. Make sure residents know where to go for help.
  5. Regular Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with residents, so they feel comfortable reporting any suspicious activity. Encourage them to consult with Village staff or a family member if they are unsure about the legitimacy of a communication they receive.

By putting these proactive measures into action, we can create safer spaces for residents and tackle the rising scam threat. Allowing our residents to enjoy their retirement without fear of exploitation.  Below is the link for the Little Black Book of Scams which I would highly recommend having some copies of in the Village community centre.

https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/research-and-resources/the-little-black-book-of-scams

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