Elderly people learned to spot scams in a workshop at the Singapore Book Fair

SINGAPORE — When she received a call from a man aggressively asking her for money out of the blue, Mrs. Agnes Ho, 79, wondered if the caller was genuine.

The call came well after normal working hours and he never addressed her by name.

Yelling into the phone, the man, who did not specify who he was, said he waited a long time for her to pick up the call.

Ms Ho, who spoke to the Straits Times at a Youths Help Seniors Go Digital workshop on Sunday June 5, said she had read about the scams in the newspapers and heard from people she knew, including a friend in Malaysia who transferred over $10,000. to crooks.

“He kept screaming because he wanted me to panic,” said Madame Ho, who added that she quickly hung up on her.

“These scammers seem to know our weaknesses so well, but I know better than to believe them,” she added of her experience, which happened in late May – just one of many similar calls she has. received.

The workshop, which aims to guide seniors to use technology safely and confidently, was organized by Lianhe Zaobao and brought together around 120 seniors at the National Library on Victoria Street.

They were paired with students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Chinese School of Media and Communication as trainers presented topics ranging from how to use WhatsApp to how to claim Community Development Council vouchers to updates on scam trends, such as phishing.

Ms. Ho, who is retired, said, “I wanted to come and learn because with my age, it is very difficult to understand technology today, even on my phone, which has so many functions.”

“Whenever I have a problem with my phone, I ask my children who fix it for me quickly, but I don’t learn how to do things myself.”

Another participant, Mrs. Linda Lee, 78, said she was often confused by unknown callers and repeatedly reported suspicious calls to the police.

She added, “I’m afraid they’ll scam me so I need to learn and know how to identify those clues. The technology is very handy, but it’s advancing so fast.”

The workshop was one of the programs held during the 37th Singapore Book Fair organized by the SPH Media Trust Chinese Media Group.

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