30 March 2017

A 100-year-old “silver surfer” was among those who enjoyed an internet safety session, in a bid to give pensioners more confidence in using computers and increase their safety online.

The event, run by undergraduate Computer Information and Security student Rob Lister and organised in conjunction with Sheffield Hallam University and Age UK Sheffield, was part of Sheffield City Council’s “Not Born Yesterday” campaign, which aims to tackle scammers and rogue traders preying on the most vulnerable.

The attendees at last Friday’s event heard from students, members of Sheffield City Council’s trading standards team and representatives from Santander.

Students gave 100-year-old Kathleen Mysberg – who uses the Internet to Skype her family overseas – a lesson in how to stay safe online before trading standards gave some helpful tips about doorstep crime.

Santander also gave a presentation about staying safe while online banking.

Mr Lister, aged 20, said: “It went really well. The presentation was a good introduction to staying safe online and off-line and we hope that it will lead to further sessions both at Hallam and in the community.

“We find that people often start using the Internet without any tips on how to do so safely, so courses like this give them a toolkit to follow.

“I’d like to thank the other groups who attended a really good first session.”

The other students who took part were Erick Hibert, aged 23, Rasheed Osman, aged 21, and 20-year-old Danny Ibishev.

“Not Born Yesterday” is a collaboration between Sheffield’s Trading Standards and Adult Safeguarding services and brings together a network of partners including South Yorkshire Police, Age UK Sheffield and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.

The campaign is delivered through organisations and community groups, using the help of family, friends and neighbours who are best placed to spot the signs of this type of financial abuse and provide an effective and confidential route to refer concerns.

Spotting the warning signs and providing support to victims is a key aim of the project. Those being helped might be someone receiving lots of junk letters for mail order products and prize draws, being pestered by scam calls, or being targeted at the door for unnecessary property repairs or gardening work.

Councillor Bryan Lodge, Cabinet Member for the Environment at Sheffield City Council, said: “We know that some of the most vulnerable people in Sheffield sadly won’t have face-to-face contact with many people on a daily basis, which is why it’s important that we use those living and working in our communities to look out for these people and be aware of the signs of scams and rogue trading.

“It is a sad fact that criminals prey on the most vulnerable. But once we are made aware of people being a victim of rogue traders or scams, we can use all the powers at our disposal to stop it happening again – and to bring these criminals to justice.

“Simple tools such as call blockers are changing people’s lives but, if we’re not aware of the problem, we can’t act. The message is to friends, families and neighbours – you can help us to help your loved ones.”

Anyone who has concerns that someone they know may be a victim of scammers or rogue traders should call 03454 040506 or email trading.standards@sheffield.gov.uk