Identifying scams and frauds

Vodafone Foundation introduces new education support to help older people spot scams and fraud

10 April 2024
  • Over 55s more likely to be targeted by investment scams.
  • 25.6% increase in authorised push payment fraud.
  • Vodafone’s Hi Digital programme to date has supported over 60,000 older people improve their digital skills.

25th March 2024: Vodafone Foundation has today introduced a new 'Identifying Scams and Frauds' module to its Hi Digital platform to support vulnerable older people from falling victim to scammers. The launch of the new module comes as a recent report from FraudSMART revealed a 25.6% increase in authorised push payment fraud (APP) fraud, totalling €8.6 million in losses in the first half of 2023, with individuals over 55 targeted through schemes like investment scams.*

Vodafone Foundation’s new module will help older people spot potential scams, provide tips to protect themselves from online fraud, and offer advice on what to do if they believe they’ve been scammed. Insights collected from Hi Digital training events throughout Ireland indicated that older people frequently voice apprehensions about falling prey to scams, with many encountering them regularly or knowing someone who has had a negative encounter.

With a user base of over 40,000 individuals to date, Hi Digital’s online platform provides older people with essential digital skills and knowledge, improving the way they interact with technology. The new module accompanies other popular support modules for older people on the Hi Digital platform as it looks to close the digital divide between generations. Other modules on the platform include;

  • Using my Smartphone – From calling and texting to downloading and using apps.
  • Stay Connected- Learning to use email and social media to stay in touch with loved ones, with a focus on WhatsApp and Facebook.
  • Everyday Online Activities - Support on the internet from staying informed to shopping and paying bills online.
  • Hobbies and travel- Learning how to research interests and book a holiday or trip.
  • Online banking- Introduction to online banking and learn how to use it safely and conveniently.

Aligning with Vodafone’s commitment to bridge the digital divide, the Vodafone Foundation, in partnership with ALONE, last summer launched ‘Hi Digital Drop-in Fridays’ . Now live in 36 Vodafone stores nationwide, Hi Digital Drop in Friday’s is a dedicated time every Friday between 10.00-1.00pm where a Hi Digital ambassador will be on hand in store to give older people the one on one support they need.

Liz Roche, Head of The Vodafone Ireland Foundation, said: “We are delighted to see our Hi Digital platform evolve with the introduction of the scams and frauds module. Scams have been a key concern expressed by older people who have attended our 'Hi Digital Drop-in Fridays’, to seek free practical support, so this addition is truly significant. Empowering older generations with the knowledge and tools to navigate the digital world safely is at the core of what we do, which is why we are thrilled to be providing this extra support.”

Frank Dillon, Head of Communications & Fundraising at ALONE, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to offer this new module of training as part of our Digital Champions course to partner organisations across the country. Online fraud is becoming a widespread crime and can be financially, as well as emotionally harmful, if it reduces a person’s confidence to go online. We support a lot of very savvy older people but the criminals still get through as scams and fraud can happen to anyone. The internet can provide older people with great connectivity and a wealth of information at their fingertips, however, its paramount they feel confident and safe using it.’

Vodafone Foundation’s Hi Digital programme

Vodafone’s Hi Digital programme launched in 2021, and to date has supported over 60,000 older people in improving their digital skills across all its initiatives. Hi Digital is a step-by-step course designed for anyone who needs support to improve their online skills, particularly for those who rarely access the internet. The course is split into short lessons which teach people how to access the internet, use smartphones, stay safe online and now identify and avoid scams and fraud. The programme aims to create a more connected community, reducing loneliness and isolation among the older population.

The initiative is supported by Hi Digital Drop-In Fridays, where older people can come in store for free, practical support and advice on phones, tablets and devices on Fridays between 10am and 1pm. This programme has seen remarkable expansion since the launch in the summer, starting out with 21 participating Vodafone Ireland stores, it is now offered in 36 counties. Hi Digital also has a partnership with the Irish Girl Guides (IGG) whereby over 200 girl guides have been trained as ‘digital champions’ to provide support to older people across the country. IGG joins Vodafone Foundation’s existing charity partner, ALONE, who provide a range of support to older people, including a befriending service and assistance with technology.

For more information about Hi Digital, visit https://hidigital.ie/en/.

Or call the ALONE helpline on 1800 20 30 30 or email digitalskills@alone.ie.

Or call the ALONE helpline on 1800 20 30 30 or email digitalskills@alone.ie.

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