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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Poor reception for digital skills

Heather Oster, a resident of Kadina, has fully embraced the digital age, yet encountered the unpleasant sting of an online scam two Christmases ago. Recalling the incident, she recounts receiving a message from her bank on Christmas Eve, alerting her to an attempted unauthorized access of her credit card. While the bank swiftly detected the fraudulent activity, Oster still faced inconvenience when her card was cancelled, necessitating a visit to the branch for resolution.

Despite this setback, Oster remains undeterred in her digital pursuits, managing her banking, shopping, and other tasks online, including running multiple email accounts for personal and business purposes. Acknowledging the need for vigilance in the online realm, she maintains a cautious approach, recognizing that genuine contacts would leave messages for her to return calls.

However, the rise of scams, password complexities, and internet banking challenges are causing heightened stress levels as society becomes increasingly reliant on digital platforms. A recent submission to a Senate inquiry into regional bank closures, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, underscores the widening gap in digital literacy between regional and urban populations, particularly among older individuals.

Research by RMIT and Swinburne University indicates that older Australians in regional areas struggle with fundamental digital skills, such as setting passwords and navigating online platforms. Furthermore, concerns about online scams, particularly during banking activities, loom large for many.

Technology specialist Daniel Lascelles of Kadina addresses common issues encountered by his clients, including online scams and password complexities. He emphasizes the importance of stringent security measures and urges people to refrain from sharing personal information unless verified by trusted sources.

The submission from ADM+S also highlights the heightened fear of scams as regional bank closures continue to escalate. Australian Prudential Regulation Authority data reveals a significant decline in bank branches across South Australia, with regional areas bearing the brunt of closures.

On Yorke Peninsula, the reduction in bank branches mirrors the broader trend, indicating the challenges faced by regional communities amidst the rapid digitalization of society. Despite these obstacles, individuals like Oster and experts like Lascelles remain committed to navigating the digital landscape with caution and resilience.

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