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Slowly restoring trust: The fear of using technology after a scam attack

Joan is an 88-year young client living on the Fraser Coast in Queensland. Joan was previously scammed through a remote deposit capture scam where she lost her entire deposit funds on the mobile phone. Being consulted inappropriately and having banned
the internet out of fear, Joan is now slowly restoring trust in technology by joining Feros Care’s Let’s Get Technical service – an individual technology training service for seniors.

“When the technology training was offered to me, I felt it could be a help. I don’t expose a lot of private information on the internet. I don’t love anything about technology, but I am trying to survive with it,” Joan said.

When Joan realised she was being scammed, she sought help from her mobile service provider and local authorities. “When I told them my balance was going down, they’ve all told me to turn off the internet.”

While the advice was well-intentioned, it may have increased the fear of technology due to not dismantling the root cause. Not knowing what Joan could do to get safer online triggered uncertainty and significant distrust in technology.

Joan’s Technical Support Officer Amanda said that ‘only time, trust and understanding will empower our seniors to become more confident to use technology safely’.

“Joan was told a lot of incorrect information, which made it hard to break that barrier, especially if local authorities and mobile service provider said to turn off the internet so no one could hack her accounts. It took quite a lot of reassurance,
correct information and explanation of how Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and the internet work and how beneficial it could be when using it safely,” Amanda said.

Joan decided to not use the internet for shopping or online banking. However, through Let’s Get Technical, she discovered listening to music through a streaming platform and loves it! Some of her initial goals included learning how to send text
messages and know the basics of her devices. In the end, Joan could do all of that as well as emailing, organising her inbox and learnt how to scan and print documents with just her phone.

Joan said, “Let’s Get Technical has been very helpful. If it hasn’t been helpful enough, it’s my fault,” she laughs. Joan mentioned she will go with the time – if technology requires her to use the internet for more
services, she eventually will do so.

“Maybe I should be doing it in the future, but only when I really need to. I say, live your life the best way for you. It’s the best way for you, so that’s how you should live”.

We could not be any prouder of Joan, who is taking the initiative to empower herself in overcoming fears and becoming more comfortable with technology after her negative experience.

Online scams can have significant impacts on someone’s life – and Joan is not the only senior who experienced fraud. More often, seniors become ashamed about what happened and hide their devices in the drawer. Feros’ Let’s Get
Technical has helped many seniors understanding how scams work and how to stay safe online while taking advantage of the many benefits technology can provide.

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