The tiny town of Yarram near the south coast of Victoria was a picturesque location to hold the latest round of cyber resilience clinics. With the rare chance of late for some sunshine and the Optus breach still fresh in the minds of many, it was another exciting opportunity to share our important messages.

Yarram local police officers were extremely enthusiastic to learn more about how IDCARE can help community members prevent, detect and respond to identity theft, scams and cyber security threats. The police were particularly concerned about the growing number of teenage boys and young men in rural areas being caught in sextortion scams. While reporting to police is often an essential step in the response journey, there are many other steps that fall outside the police jurisdiction. IDCARE assistance often includes providing information about the practical steps needed to protect identity credentials, reduce financial misuse risks, secure social media and other online accounts, and check the security of laptops and mobile phones. Our trained case managers also understand the emotional impact of crimes relating to your identity and the ongoing stress this can cause. From physical theft events to data breaches, investment scams, or blackmail as a result of images shared in a relationship scam, IDCARE offers a point of contact for individuals to find out what they can do and what other organisations exist to reduce the risks and provide support.

Scams involving gift cards as a form of payment were a feature of the Mirridong Disability Service presentation. We discussed how difficult it can be to convince someone they are being coached by a scammer. One CROC attendee related the story of an elderly gentleman who had attended a local supermarket requesting gift cards valued at $500. After another card was purchased within two days, staff asked what the cards were for. He responded it was for medical bills for a friend. A senior manager intervened and tried to convince the man he may be involved in a scam at which point he left and said he would just buy it elsewhere. While the gift card purchase was thwarted by this store, there is sadly no guarantee they were not obtained elsewhere.

The Yarram Rotarians were kind enough to invite IDCARE to a dinner presentation at which both the Optus data breach and password management dominated proceedings. There was clearly a growing awareness of the impact of data breaches and the need to protect exposed credentials. With passwords - as always - when the question is asked, “Who has the same password for everything?” many hands were raised. Password managers, biometrics and clever tricks for remembering strong and diverse passwords were discussed. And all were told to go home and change their passwords as their homework!

CROC is heading out of Victoria next, heading for flood-impacted Wagga Wagga for a brief visit before setting sail to Tasmania to continue our campaign of raising awareness and providing valuable information and support to Australians at risk of cybercrime.