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The other evening I got a phone call from someone purporting to be from ‘Windows’. He told me that I had a virus on my computer. I assume that this was supposed to be a shock tactic to get me to behave irrationally. I told him I knew about the virus. He tried to get me to open my computer but I told him that this wasn’t convenient. He then tried shock tactic number 2 and told me that my computer could crash at any moment and would I open it up. Again I told him I knew. Eventually he asked if he could ring me back when it was convenient for me to open the computer but I said I would ring him. Surprise, surprise, he wasn’t allowed to give me his phone number and after he told me he would ask his supervisor the phone went dead.

I rang the police and was advised to contact Scam Watch which I did and left an account of what had happened. I assume I was not the only one being targeted and I would like to think that this Federal Police department would alert other people. Apparently if I had done as he had said his organisation would have taken over my computer.

Modern technology can make a huge difference to our lives but this is an example of how it is also a mixed blessing. Older people in particular grew up in a world where we were likely to know, or know the family of, people we were dealing with. In that sense it was a much safer world.

I suspect it will take us a while to be less trusting of people, particularly people who pretend to be helping us. It’s sad that we have to change in this way. It’s sad also that we have to teach young people that the world is a much more dangerous place than the one we grew up in. Does all this have to be the outcome of a new world in which we can be connected with so many more people? Why can’t the traditional values of loving and caring for others in western societies take precedence in society? The churches used to preach about hell and damnation which we no longer accept but do we have to lose all sense of being accountable for our behaviour?

Maybe this is another case of the need for older people’s voices to be heard, and joined by the voices of younger people who also believe that caring for, and about, others is the only way ahead for us to create a just and fair society, and a prosperous one in terms of human values.