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Lawyers in libraries to help unlock the law

9 May 2017

During National Law Week 2017, Legal Aid NSW lawyers will be on hand in selected libraries around the state to offer tips and insights on traffic law and staying safe online.

Online scammers and the ruses they use to target older people will be laid bare at a series of Law Week 2017 workshops delivered by Legal Aid NSW at libraries across the state.

From May 15-19, Legal Aid NSW lawyers will be on hand at more than 30 NSW libraries. They will offer expert tips on two wide-ranging legal topics: navigating NSW traffic law, and cyber-safety for older people.

The workshops are the result of a partnership between the State Library of NSW Find Legal Answers service and Legal Aid NSW, and will also highlight the plain-language legal information available in public libraries.

“Getting behind the wheel of a car or heading online to stay in touch with friends are such normal, everyday experiences that people may underestimate the extent to which they intersect with law,” Legal Aid NSW lawyer and community legal education specialist Lauren Finestone said.

“These workshops are all about helping people wise up and stay safe, whether they are on the road or online.”
Ms Finestone said some online fraudsters specifically target older people because they expect them to have access to funds, or see them as less cyber-savvy. In extreme cases, older people who fall prey to scams may fall foul of the law themselves.

In one case, Legal Aid NSW represented an elderly US man who received an email telling him he had won an all-expenses paid overseas trip. The man responded and was then sent flight and accommodation bookings. After travelling to his destination, the man was even provided luggage and invited to extend his holiday with a trip to Australia – but hidden in the lining of the man’s brand new suitcase was a large quantity of cocaine.

“We have seen cases in which the simple act of logging in and opening an email has been the start of a train of events that has left people in very serious legal trouble,” Ms Finestone said.

“Scammers are increasingly sophisticated. They play the long game, and are skilled at knowing what to say to make their claims seem believable.

“It is a myth that only gullible or greedy people fall for online scams. That’s why it’s so important that people learn to recognise the warning signs, and know what to do to safeguard their personal information.”

Head to www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/what-we-do/workshops/workshops-for-the-public for details of participating libraries.