Scams 'a barrier to study'

SPAM emails, pop-ups, suspect links, dodgy offers - the world wide web can be a maze for seniors stepping into the void for the first time.

The issue has been a particular concern for Bendigo East resident Doreen Sheers, who saw the internet as a barrier to further study.

She said she was "very hesitant" when confronted with having to use the internet for study.

"Going online can be a little intimidating at first," Mrs Sheers said.

"I was very worried about identity theft and you just don't know how safe you are online."

She managed to overcome her online fears, but believed it remained a hindrance for mature age residents looking to extend their studies or embrace the changing technology.

Improving cyber safety for seniors could be another "priority" ahead of this year's state election if Liberal candidate for Bendigo East Greg Bickley has his way.

I was very worried about identity theft and you just don't know how safe you are online. - Doreen Sheers

Mr Bickley said he would advocate for state government funding for local training options for seniors to become confident online.

He said there remained a lack of training or knowledge of cyber security within the seniors community, which could become a concern as smart devices become even more necessary in day-to-day life.

"There are various community groups that could provide cyber safety training for mature age people who are launching into the online world for the first time," Mr Bickley said.

"Many seniors are already extremely fearful of technology because they have not grown up using these tools."

The state government last year provided $10,000 to the Bendigo community to develop programs aimed at preventing cyber crime and making people aware of internet scams.

In June, Bendigo residents alerted the Bendigo Advertiser of a number of phone scams targeting people in central Victoria.

Scammers had impersonated Telstra representatives in an attempt to extort money.

If you think you have been the target of a scammer, visit the SCAMWatch website at www.scamwatch.gov.au or call 1300 795 995.

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