Newsletter September/October 2018

From the Chair

Hi Everyone

When we had our last meeting at the Kelston Community Centre we were going to be participating in the Day of the Older Person on the 28th September. Unfortunately this has been cancelled for various reasons. It’s a shame because there isn’t a lot that’s aimed at our age group.

We would like your feedback on the Internet Banking presentation and wondered if a follow–up workshop would be helpful to some of you. It was a lot to take in at the time especially if you were not already banking on–line. We could run a workshop if enough people were interested. Please ring Pam on 09 8272156 and leave your details.

Our Help Days are proving very popular and we may have to restrict the number of questions from each member so that others are not waiting too long for help. If you are waiting please feel free to help yourself to tea or coffee.

Please let us know if you have any ideas for classes so that we can provide the best service we can. If there is a subject you are particularly interested in we would love to hear from you. Ring Pam with any ideas.

Regards From the Chair

Nothing is impossible. The word itself says “I’m possible”.

Life always offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow.

Hacks and Spams

I received two separate scam emails recently purporting to be from Spark. I know many of you also are Spark NZ customers. I have copied them both, as received by me, so that if you have received anything similar, you will know for sure that it is a scam. Please don’t email me to tell me you have found some errors! I know there are many, in spelling, in grammar, in syntax. That should be your first clue, if you receive something similar.

Three weeks ago the business account of a close family member was hacked. The hackers wanted to be paid in bitcoins before their data could be returned. Nigerians, Chinese, Russians? Who knows! It has cost the business hundreds of thousands of dollars, both in business and in IT and forensic specialists from both Australia and New Zealand, and they are now almost seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It has been a long and painful journey for them.

Last year a friend of mine received an email, supposedly from her bank, inviting her to click on a link and follow the instructions. Sadly it cost her dearly for forensic investigators to clean up her lap–top, around $1000. But on a slightly brighter note ASB was able to stop a payment of $800 from leaving her account. I cannot emphasise enough, do not, ever, ever, ever, click on a link and give your personal details.

Monthly Meeting

Remember our monthly meetings at Kelston Community Centre are held on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 10 a.m. Circle the days on your calendar; put it in your 2018 diary now!

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, 18 September, 2018.

Help Days

On the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month 10am to Midday.

We are encouraged by the number of people who have attended our Help Days, and have found that the majority of questions are more involved than we had originally anticipated. Therefore we are asking for a $5.00 donation per Help Day session.

This time is also suitable for those wishing to enquire about classes, joining SeniorNet or just generally finding out a bit more about what we do.

Spam and more Spam

Have you received anything like this in your email box?

From: Spark Service (sent from Information Concerning your Mail Account Dear Spark User, Due to our recent upgrading to fight spams,Our admin noticed a login to your mail account from an unrecognized device, signed in from an unknow Location, Due to this, you are required to update your account immediately.Failure to do this,your account will be de–activated. You are required to log on to your On line Spark Mail Account with your full email and password with the provided link below, Please click, Sign in for verification to avoid closure of your account. Thank you for being and paste in your a loyal Yahoo! Mail User.

Copyright 2018 Spark Team From: Sparkmail (sent from General Remark

This is to inform you of a change and update in our mail server, all Spark web mail account owner are required to update their data in order to avoid termination or suspension of your account. To update your information CLICK HERE. Or copy the link bellow and paste in your browser and sign in with your user–id and password please click above instructions to update your information; we will process your request after we receive your information. Thanks Admin

Have you received, as I have recently, emails from Contact Energy, Amazon, PayPal, Apple, Bunnings, Jetstar, Qantas, ANZ, even Westpac, offering wonderful offers? I’ve even had an email from Inland Revenue advising me that I have GST returns due in 5 days! Our speaker at the Kelston meeting in August warned us about internet safety, so I’ll keep reminding you all of the importance of being vigilant.

Emails from the infamous Nigerian princes sure fooled many folk when they first rolled out. Now emails seem to be coming from big companies such as those I’ve mentioned. Spammers now seem to be personalising their emails, which might lead you to believe the email has come from a trusted business or person.

Regardless of how many safety features and filters you have in place, nothing beats good common sense. If you receive an email from someone you don’t know, be wary. Don’t open anything you are unsure of. You should be able to see the link URL when you hover over it. If it looks “dodgy” don’t click on it.

(If you don’t already know how to find out an email sender’s name, come along to one of our Help Days and we’ll show you. Thanks. Ed.)


In the ‘old days’, at least ten years ago, I spent hours digitising my favourite audio tapes, then putting them on my iPod so that I could listen to my favourite music as I walked the streets for my daily exercise. I still use my iPod but I also now use Spotify, a web service that lets you listen to more than 30 million songs on your computer, or smartphone or tablet. You can use the free account, which lets you listen to songs on shuffle throughout certain albums from specific artists and there is some advertising. But for a monthly fee pay you can listen to unlimited numbers of songs and albums, create and share playlists, share them, and download music for offline use with no annoying ads. To get started with Spotify on your computer, go to and create an account using either your Facebook credentials or an email address.

From there, you can launch the web player to listen from your browser, or you can download the player directly to your computer.

Better yet, if you also grab the Spotify app for your smartphone or tablet, if you're in the middle of a song on your computer, you can switch it to play on your tablet, mid–note!

What is RFID?

RFID stand for Radio Frequency Identification. This system uses radio waves to read, transmit, and capture information stored on a tag that is attached to an object. The tag can be read wirelessly from up to several metres away and is multi–directional, meaning the tag does not have to be directly within a reader’s line of sight to be read. (We’ve seen this demonstrated at one of our Kelston meetings.)

You may have heard of thieves stealing credit card details simply by standing next to someone whose credit card was still in the victim’s pocket or purse. Your new passport, although heavily encrypted, may have an embedded RFID tag that can be susceptible to remote skimming. If you are concerned about RFID tag skimming and remote attacks, you can now buy blocking wallets, purses and even clothing for your peace of mind. These RFID blockers have built–in shielding that blocks the radio waves that RFID tags rely on. I recently bought one such wallet in LynnMall.

Should I wrap my car keys in aluminium foil?

Your car key fob uses an electronic signal, inside which is a tiny computer chip with a unique code which it sends to your car’s security system. The car also has a chip, which uses the same algorithm to generate codes. If the codes match up, the car opens. Have you ever seen a car in the car park you thought was yours and tried to open it with your key fob? Or am I the only one who has these senior moments?

Anyway, apart from buying a signal–blocking pouch, here are a few tricks I read about that will keep hackers from stealing your signal, should you be concerned about hackers near your house.

You can put the key fob in the fridge or freezer. The multiple layers of metal will block the signal. Better check with the manufacturer before you freeze the fob to make sure freezing won’t damage it!

If you’re not keen to freeze the fob you could put in in your microwave. Again the metal frame will block the signal. Don’t turn your microwave on, though!

A bit trickier perhaps, but you could wrap your fob in aluminium foil. Your friends may think you’re a bit odd and having the fob wrapped in foil may hamper your ability to use it quickly, but this tactic may stop hackers, if you’re concerned, from stealing your signal.

Or you could line a small box with aluminium foil.

Or you could just invest in an RFID blocker wallet or purse.


West Auckland Committee Members 2018 

June Lay 833 8186 

Secretary Janet Bailey 836 1964 

Course Co–ordinator Pam Smith 827 2156  

Hospitality Terry Massey 838 6206 

Membership Secretary Michaela Baxter 416 4173

Treasurer & Speakers Carol Sinkinson 817 9647 

Newsletter Cathie Macleod 813 1001 

Committee member David Elwood 836 0445 

Committee member Ruth Eichler 827 5529

Web Master Peter Culpan 834 5124 

Office Administrator Sarah Wayman 818 8472

Disclaimer: Some of our Club members who have specialised computer knowledge voluntarily give help to those with computer problems and may also give advice about purchasing computers etc. It is essential that members of SeniorNet are aware that such help and advice imposes no responsibility or liability either on those members who provide such help and assistance or on SeniorNet West Auckland Inc.

Acknowledgement: We acknowledge the support of the major sponsor of our Learning Centre: The Trusts Community Foundation (TTCF). Our main benefactor, assisting their local community.

Chris Ormandy is SNWA’s sponsor and technical support.

Location: 66 – 70 Railside Ave


Ph 837–7600