Covid-19 - Latest Government Advice

IT Corner: Computer Scams

Computers, smartphones, tablets and the internet opened up many new tricks for scammers to exploit, but they're also really useful. So let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater - instead we just need to learn how to be careful, and learn how to use IT safely. Here are some key points: -

1.Be suspicious if contacted out of the blue. If someone rings, texts or emails you, rather than you having contacted them, then do not trust they are who they say, unless you've a very good reason to believe them.
2.Be even more suspicious if it sounds too good to be true, or they make it sound urgent. Scammers know people are more easily tricked when they have to make a quick decision, e.g. to not miss some offer or to avoid some penalty. The classic scam of this type is a call warning that your bank account has been hacked and you urgently need to move your money to a 'safe' account, so don't fall for that one - the 'safe' account will be theirs and that's the last you'll see of it.
3.Don't give any personal information unless you really are sure you know who you're talking to, and that they really do need to know. Scammers are after money at the end of the day, but personal information is also valuable - they or other scammers can use it later, to look more convincing next time, that they are indeed from a reputable company you deal with.
4.Keep your device software and anti-virus up to date. And be careful if installing new apps - for phones and tablets, stick to apps that are in the official Apple or Android stores, which are checked for malware.
5.Be careful of clicking links in emails and texts, unless you're sure they are OK. They can be set up to look like they are to the website of a reputable company, but in fact link through to a scam website. If in doubt, don't click the link and instead use your browser to go to that company's website in the way you normally would.

At the moment, there are several phone scams doing the rounds that fit both the "out of the blue" and "urgent/concerning" categories of points 1 and 2 above. One tells you an expensive iPhone has been ordered on your Amazon account and if you didn't order it then press 1 to cancel. They want you to be worried that you must act quickly, so that if you do press 1 you're more likely to give away personal information in the process. Instead, just put the phone down. If they were telling the truth, then given the number of such calls I've had in the last few months, I would have a whole cupboard full of iPhones by now!

The website of the Which? magazine has helpful pages on 'Scams and on How to Spot a Scam', and you can also sign up to receive weekly emails of Scam Alerts, warning of new scams that are appearing. Just go to their 'Services' - 'Consumer Rights' page.
Stay safe - Peter Quiggin

Extra Phone/Tablet/Computer Help

If you’ve got a problem with your phone, tablet or computer you can come to our computer help desk at our U3A monthly drop-in sessions at the Coro (last Tuesday of the month, 10 to 11:30am), but we sometimes have a queue and run out of time to help everyone. So it’s worth knowing that computer help is also available at local libraries, which might be better for you if the next drop-in is too long to wait: -
The Barrow library webpage says that Barrow main library (Ramsden Square) have daily IT sessions where you can learn how to do various IT things or ask for IT help with any problems you have, as well as a Thursday Silver Surfers session. Ring them (01229 407370) to find out more and book.
The Barrow Library Facebook page also says that Walney Library will be hosting free IT help for your smartphone, tablet or laptop on Monday June 10th. To book, call Walney Library on 01229 471742.
Ulverston Library has a very knowledgeable and friendly volunteer called Chris, who holds a weekly IT help session on Tuesday afternoons from 1pm to 3pm. And Age UK also run IT drop-in sessions at Ulverston Library, on the first and second Thursdays of each month from 10:30am until 12. Ring them (01229 404151) to find out more.
Dalton Community Association is planning drop-in computer help sessions in their computer suite in the Community Centre Drill Hall] on Nelson Street. Contact DCA for details – 01229 463929.

Handy Person Scheme

Some households can benefit from a handy person service. It helps elderly or vulnerable people carry out very simple but essential work at their homes.

It is free except for the cost of materials. This is unless materials have been supplied by a partner agency (as in the case of some security items). Follow this link to find out details - Handy Person Scheme

Reduced railcard cost for people using hearing aids

If you use a hearing aid you are eligible to apply for a Disabled Persons Railcard, saving £10 on the cost of a Senior Railcard. Follow this link to find out details - Disabled Persons Railcard

Northern Explorer 55 ticket

Northern rail run our local train services and have recently introduced new and bigger trains and more through services to Manchester and the airport. And I recently discovered that they offer a little known “Explorer 55” day ranger ticket that gives a good discount to anyone age 55 or over. It’s only £15 and is valid for one day of unlimited travel after 9:30am, on all Northern train services in their North West region. This covers the Cumbria Coast line from Carlisle to Barrow, the Furness line to Lancaster and on to Preston, Manchester (and beyond to the airport, Buxton, Edale), plus services to Liverpool, Chester and lots more places. So even if you’ve a railcard (which you don’t need for this ticket) it’s the cheapest option for a day trip to Manchester unless you want to get an earlier train. And if you do want an earlier start then if you’ve not got a railcard it’s probably still a pretty good option, by combining with a single to wherever that earlier train first stops after 9:30.
For full details see Northern Explorer 55

Setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)

This is a good idea for many people in their third age, so if you don't know much about them they're worth learning about. Don’t know what LPAs are? They are pre-registered authorisations that say who you're happy to take over managing your affairs if (and not before) you became unable to make your own decisions. This certainly isn't something any of us want to happen, but if it does, then without an LPA already in place it's much, much more difficult for the people you trust to help you by managing your affairs for you. See Power of Attorney

The Priority Services Register (PSR)

This is a free service provided by energy suppliers and network operators to customers in need. Click on this link for more information Priority Services Register

Ulverston Leisure Centre run a range of Activities for the Over Fifties

These include swimming, circuits, walking netball and walking football. If you would like to find out more follow this link: Ulverston Leisure Centre

Cumbria Libraries Service

Did you know that the Cumbria Library Service, which includes Ulverston, has a FREE downloadable app called LIBBY? This gives free access to over 4000 digital books, magazines and comics. You can download, for 21 days, as many as you like. They are then in your device's memory and can be read at leisure. Returning them is easy, just follow the instructions.

Playlist for Life

A music and dementia charity bringing the power of personal music playlists to those living with dementia

We are currently offering organisations an opportunity to join our Help Point network and receive a free pack of our resources to share with people living with dementia, or carers that you are working or coming into contact with. By signing up, I can send out the pack of resources and also offer you and your colleagues places on our free webinar or ‘live’ awareness training.

It is a really simple but beneficial concept, and we want to get the message out far and wide.

A Help Point is a place that is open to any member of the public to come in and get information on Playlist for Life. It can simply be a place that displays a poster and leaflets, can offer advice for people to make a playlist for them or a loved one or in some cases even make playlists for people.

You can find out more about our work here: https://www.playlistforlife.org.uk/

I am happy to discuss this further with you, if it is something you would be interested in, and if you want to sign up, you can do so at the following link - apply-help-point

I look forward to hearing from you

Best wishes for now
Mark Costello


Members of the Midweek Walking Group came across an accident recently that involved an injured cyclist and they were able to help in various ways. They were first on the scene.

It took place in a rural area and the exact location can be difficult to describe to emergency call centre staff who do not live in and are not familiar with the area. Can I recommend the everyone has the “what3words” app on their mobile phone? It was really useful as it instantly gives an accurate location anywhere that there is a signal. Every small area in the country has a unique three-word code linked to their exact location that can instantly be accessed via the app. Emergency services, or indeed anyone can instantly find this on a map.what3words