We've had to interrupt our normal blog posting of our clinics to highlight the official launch of CROC, Cyber Resilience Outreach Clinics.
On Monday, 15 November, the IDCARE crew took the cyber "trucks" into a pineapple field with the most magnificent backdrop of the Glass House Mountains in Queensland's Sunshine Coast and set up the Scream at a Scammer booth for some VIPs.
The Federal Minister for Home Affairs, Karen Andrews, and the Federal Member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace, braved walking through the dusty grounds to launch our initiative to reach regional and remote communities.
We also had a swarm or a pack (not sure what the collective noun is here) of journalists descend on the Moffat's pineapple farm to report on the historic event.
The weather the week before had been 🌧☔🌧 so we were a little bit worried when organising such a big event in advance. But it was just perfect Goldilocks weather on the day (not too hot, not too cold).
While our sponsors, Westpac, Meta and nbn, were unable to make it into Queensland for the event (Queensland reopens its borders on 17 December), they did send some wonderful words explaining why they decided to partner with IDCARE in something that has never been tried before.
Westpac’s Chief Digital Officer Jason Hair said the following:
“Scams and fraud continue to be a big issue in the community, and after seeing a surge in scams during the pandemic it’s never been more important to help educate people so they can better protect themselves, as well as those around them. We know scammers often target people who are more isolated, so the impacts for those living in remote areas can be significant. We’re really excited to work with IDCARE to not only build greater awareness, but also extend vital support services to help combat the impact of scams in regional and rural communities.”
Meta (formerly Facebook) Head of Policy for Australia, Josh Machin, said Meta was “thrilled to support IDCARE’s CROC initiative”.
Over the past 18 months, we know Australians have been spending more time online, and so are scammers, who are are becoming increasingly sophisticated, causing financial and emotional harm to Australians. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to learn how to spot and avoid different types of scams, so that they are equipped to protect not just themselves, but their friends and family as well," he said.
And the nbn's Chief Security Officer, Darren Kane had this to say:
“nbn has a proud history over its relatively short presence of being a strong supporting partner to government, industry and business with the goal of mitigating the risks posed by scams and other forms of cybercrime. We see our involvement in this initiative, partnering with IDCARE as a continued commitment to this effort. This campaign will alert vulnerable communities to the risks posed by online crime by providing education, helpful tips and techniques allowing these communities to benefiting from connection to the wonders of the digital world in a more secure and confident way.”
IDCARE's founder and managing director, Dr David Lacey (aka Dave, or The Boss) summed up why we were going into the community and looking for cyber champions:
“An important value of being an Australian is mateship and the need to look out for your mates. It’s no different when it comes to scams, watching out for family and friends is a key disrupter to scammers,” Dr Lacey said.
Minister Andrews was fantastic in highlighting the work of IDCARE and why the federal government announced funding support for its service in its 2020 budget. The field we were in might not have been suited to VIP outfits, but she took it in her stride and even picked her own pineapple! We are immensely grateful for her support.
And the Member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace, has long been a supporting of the work at IDCARE and used the opportunity to vent in a tent in the Scream at a Scammer booth.
The launch was featured on 7News Sunshine Coast and in various ABC radio bulletins as well as online publications, including the Sunshine Coast Daily ahead of the event.
One of our clients who had been involved in an investment scam, let's call him Bob, also turned up.
We were so overwhelmed with the support of the local media, the politicians, the Moffats, our clients and our crew which went into making a BIG day for IDCARE and CROC a fantastic one too.
Thanks to Cade Media and photographer, Warren Lynam, for the incredible photos!
Rob Blackmore left from the launch to begin travelling the country with his family in one of the cyber trucks and the rest of us went back to the office (via the Beerwah hotel).