Information technology

Taxing times for the unsuspecting

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has warned of a scam that has cost older Australians more than $1 million since January.

The scam involves people impersonating ATO staff and demanding gift cards as a form of tax debt payment. It was first detected last year, but has grown in frequency in the past few months.

According to the ATO, the scammers are targeting people aged over 55, but with an emphasis on those aged 65 plus.

They warned that everyone should be cautious of emails, faxes, SMS and phone calls claiming to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Older people report scams on social media

Older people are making many of the reports about social media site scams, according to consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Australians aged over 55 accounted for 45 per cent of around 200,000 reports to Scamwatch, with investment scams accounting for the most losses, followed by dating and romance scams.

Radio a big part of life for four in 10 Australians

Retired people and those who are still working fulltime say listening to the radio is a big part of their day.

A new Roy Morgan Research survey of employees aged 14 and over showed nearly four out of 10 Australians tuned in each day.

People working full time (41 per cent) were the most likely to be daily radio listeners, followed by retirees on 40 per cent and part-time workers on 35 per cent.

But the daily habit was less likely among those without a paid job, and for people who work in home duties.

Dodgy internet scam pops up

Consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is warning people to watch out for dodgy internet pop-up windows claiming there are viruses or other nasty tech problems affecting their computer.

Known as remote access scams, these pop-up windows are used as a ploy to lure unsuspecting victims to call a fake support line – usually a 1800 number. The scammer will then ask for remote access to their victim’s computer to “find out what the problem is”.

Silver surfers embracing the Internet

A new report shows older people are going online on a daily basis, aided by new devices and fast broadband.

An overwhelming 72 per cent of those surveyed in the nbnTM, GranTechies Report said they could not imagine their life without the Internet and 93 per cent said they went online every day.

A total of 85 per cent used access to fast broadband for a range of tasks, including using email or Skype to link-in with family and friends, online shopping (59 per cent), and downloading or streaming video content (24 per cent).

Older Australians go digital

Older Australians are embracing digital life with nearly four in five people (80 percent) aged 65 and over online, a new government report reveals.

That figure represents an upward trend, as four years ago only 65 per cent of older Australians were online.

The report Digital lives of older Australians, published by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), explores the extent of online engagement of Australians aged 65 plus.

Scam surveys and fake gift card offers

Consumer watchdog the ACCC is warning people to be on the alert for scams offering fake gift cards or vouchers in return for disclosing credit card and other personal information.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Delia Rickard said that so far this year, the ACCC's Scamwatch had received 1,175 complaints about fake surveys, emails and social media posts misusing the names and logos of big retailers such as JB Hi-fi and Bunnings, Coles and Woolworths, with $2,600 reported lost.

New 'dementia-friendly' app launched

A new 3D ‘dementia friendly’ app has been launched to help carers in Victoria make their home more accessible for people living with dementia.

Maree McCabe, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria, said most people were not aware that people with dementia may experience spatial and visual challenges as well as the more commonly understood memory issues.

“Changes in the brain can impact on day to day functions and potentially confuse people living with dementia,” McCabe said.

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