Elderly users of the Saga Zone website for the over 60’s are being urged to use caution, after concerns were raised that they may be targeted by teenaged groomers seeking to supplement their pocket money. Since the launch of the website it has become clear that several ‘old people’ have already started cyber conversations with people pretending to be much, much older than they actually are.
Saga chief executive Andrew Goodsell said, ‘We are aware of the dangers and are looking out for anyone who doesn’t sound convincing when they say they like brown cardigans and Werther’s Originals. The tell tale signs are always there; for instance, we caught someone the other day saying ‘I, like, sooo totally prefer Rich Tea to custard creams, man.’ The moderator had no choice but to throw them out of the chat room at once.’
Mr Goodsell continued, ‘The reason for the ‘grooming’ is an unhealthy obsession that some teenagers have with the untouched bank accounts of vulnerable pensioners, and we’ll be watching the site closely for all offers requiring payment up front for coach trips, stair lifts and pottery figurines.’
But it is hoped that the teenagers’ current obsession with the site is just a fad and will pass when they discover how slowly most old people type and how much they just witter on about nothing. Mr Goodsell added, ‘In some cases it may well get to the stage where the teenagers arrange to meet up with their victims, but that should really be the end of it. I just don’t think that any teenager will be able to keep up the pretence of being old and excited on a two-day coach trip and tour of some historic gardens.’
Saga are upgrading their website next week, and are confident that this will make it easier to weed out all the imposters. ‘Anyone who can easily navigate their way around the new layout will obviously not be an old age pensioner.’