This CROC venture starts with the plane trip to get there and a game of pool (on a smart phone).
For those who haven't travelled to Alice Springs recently, landing at the airport is a little bit surreal as there are literally dozens of big Boeings lined up next to the tarmac, waiting for the pandemic to end (or double vaccination rates to take effect) to transport people around the world again.
It is a stark reminder of the times we have been living in, where people have been forced to spend time at home instead of travelling and engagement with scammers has reached unprecedented levels.
The flight between Brisbane and Alice Springs takes around four hours and there was no onboard entertainment, so we had to play pool. On a smart phone. This game of pool would set a precedent for future CROC outings.
We had a special delivery waiting for us at our resort in Alice Springs. Our purposefully designed cyber trucks (okay, technically they are not trucks, they are vehicles. But they look like trucks so we are sticking with it) had been delivered by truck from Perth only the day before.
None of us had seen the trucks yet and when the maxi-taxi pulled up at the resort, there they were. Blue and Green. Two 79series Landcruisers which had been fully equipped for long road trips, one with a blue trim and one with a green trim.
We went shopping to fit out the trucks with camping gear for the rest of the journey and had a discussion around names. Alice was a no-brainer for Green, but what where we going to call Blue? Bluey? Bob?
Dave (aka The Boss) decided the trucks needed a camp oven and Yours Truly happened to say "do you mean a potjie?"
For those who don't know, a potjie is a South African camp oven that is quite well-known in Australia. And blow us over, this camp store had one.
Dave bought a potjie. And then he said "let's name the blue truck 'Potjie'".
There was a strong objection to it. What kind of name for a vehicle is "Potjie", particularly as Dave couldn't even pronounce it correctly (think here "pot-gee", or "poyt-kay" instead of "poy-key".)
But as we've said before, Dave is "aka The Boss", so Blue is now "Potjie".
We were booked in at two events across Alice Springs the next day. Dave was presenting to a group of retirees at the Convention Centre with the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) team. Ryan (aka the hyphen-ator) and Yours Truly were presenting at the library.
While Dave had 80 retirees turn up for his presentation, Ryan and I were faced with the moving traffic in the library and a small, but dedicated group of people keen to learn about the scams impacting their community.
Our research from engagement with the National Case Management Centre clearly pointed to telephone scams being the issue - and predominantly those involving parcel delivery.
We had the slides ready and we budgeted for a 30 minute presentation. Two hours later we had to call it quits!
There were so many different questions, from "is it safe to bank online" to "my family are getting scam emails and it looks like it is addressed from me, how do I stop it?".
We bounced off each other, with Ryan providing the technical understanding around what was going on with scams and me providing.... a glass of water for when Ryan was thirsty.
It was fantastic to share with a small audience what was happening in their community and I guess we did okay because one of the first comments was "this is so good, when can you come back?"
We also received this feedback from one of the attendees, Veronica Larson from Neighbourhood Watch NT.
"The IDCARE Team was a hit in Alice Springs. I attended their seminar in the Alice Springs Library and was really impressed with not only their knowledge of current scams and clever ways to protect oneself, but their genuine concern and care for getting this information out to people throughout Australia. I learned quite a lot from the presentation and was entertained throughout the event. I hope they’ll be back soon and that we can collaborate to bring in a larger audience to extend the reach of protection that IDCARE’s information provides."