It had been several months since Dave (aka The Boss) had decided it was time to do something different to create resilience in regional and remote communities. Our team of analysts had crunched the data which showed people living in these communities were nearly three times more likely to engage with a scammer. We knew the facts and the figures and we had a name for our program - Cyber Resilience Outreach Clinics (CROC). What was needed now was a place for our first clinic. And we couldn't go past the Laidley Pioneer Village.
WHY LAIDLEY? IDCARE developed a relationship with the volunteers at the Village after helping them get back their website (laidleypioneervillage.org.au) which had been taken over by international scammers using it as a fake website to "sell" an international clothing brand. We were contacted by clients who had bought clothing on the page and had lost money and compromised their identity. We discovered the volunteers at the Village had allowed the domain name to lapse and scammers had bought it. People were contacting the Village who had bought clothing and the volunteers were distraught! We helped the volunteers build a new website and get their domain name back. Then it was a case of helping the Village get some good publicity and also raise awareness about the risks of scams - which is why it was perfect to host our first CROC!
THE CLINIC: Our crew, Dave, Rob, Erin, Tom and yours truly arrived at 9am for the clinic to start at 11am. By 10.15am there was already a small crowd and we were panicking (just a little) as to the numbers that would come through. We set up the huge tent in the 33 degree spring heat, put out the freshly made posters and erected the world's first "Scream at a Scammer booth", courtesy of an ensuite shower tent with a you-beaut microphone and sound shield inside. Dave and Rob did a short Q&A presentation on the scam risks impacting Laidley and the steps people can take to keep safe while Kathy manned the booth and Erin and Tom helped people check if they needed a "scambulance" on the ipads. By 1.30pm, we were done and hit the local pub for lunch and drink before the journey home.
THE AFTER-EFFECT: TBH we weren't sure how much impact we'd had. The crowds initially promised didn't materialise and, other than capturing some great messages to send to a scammer and meeting the volunteers, we had no idea how to gauge whether it was worthwhile. But then, a few weeks later, we received this message from one of the people who attended on our Facebook page:
"I attended the mobile IDCARE at Laidley on Saturday and I was so glad I did. Fast forward to Tuesday and unbelievably my card was scammed. Because of IDCARE I was on top of it straight away and they only took $6.99 from my account before I cancelled my card. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE VITAL AND VALUABLE INFO YOU PROVIDED."
If we needed any encouragement for the work we were about to embark on, this was it!