A SPECIAL film has been created to warn the deaf community to be on their guard against fraudsters who may try to contact them via the internet.
The ‘Watch Out! Scam Awareness in BSL’ film, was produced by Lancashire Constabulary and East Lancashire Deaf Society and contains a series of crime prevention messages delivered in British Sign Language, along with sub-titles and voice-overs. It was created after police became aware of the fact that the deaf community are deliberately being targeted by online fraudsters, often through social networking sites, and are being conned into handing over their savings.
Detective Inspector Janet Baldwin of Lancashire Constabulary’s serious and organised crime unit said: “The internet spans the whole globe so this doesn't only happen in Lancashire - it is a worldwide issue and we hope that this video will raise awareness, not only in the UK but also in other countries."
“The deaf community find the internet to be an effective way for them to communicate with other people and unfortunately criminals have taken advantage of this and looked to exploit them for money. As with all scams, if an offer looks too good to be true then it usually is and you should be very wary of giving out personal details or getting involved in financial transactions if someone you do not know contacts you online.”
DC Tony McClements, of the constabulary’s economic crime unit, added: “The video highlights two different types of fraud that we have issued warnings on historically to the hearing community in relation to romance fraud and lottery fraud. The new addition is one deliberately targeted at the deaf community in the form of deaf child adoption scams – a heartless con that gives people false hope at the chance of adopting a child, and can see them parting with a lot of money.
“Through the medium of this film we are hoping to get the same crime prevention message across to the deaf community who rely heavily on the internet, and in particular social media sites, to communicate with the rest of the world.
“It is deplorable that the deaf community are being targeted in this fashion and anything we can do with our partners to raise awareness of these scams is worth all the time and effort the whole production team have put into its production.”
Anyone wishing to report becoming a victim of such a scam can visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or call their free telephone service on 0300 123 2040.