New inclusive programme to help people with learning difficulties avoid scams
The Scamwise Champion scheme is a programme that was initially developed by the ScamwiseNI Partnership in conjunction with youth organisations. The Partnership has worked with the Orchardville Society to adapt the programme for people with learning difficulties.
Superintendent Gerard Pollock, Chair of the ScamwiseNI Partnership, said: “Following on from the success of the Scamwise Champion scheme with youth organisations and adult learners, we are delighted to include a new audience thanks to working in partnership with Orchardville Society. Scams continue to evolve and scammers are constantly changing their methods, so it is important that everyone in Northern Ireland has the opportunity to learn how to spot, avoid and report a scam.
“The Scamwise Champion scheme is a wonderful opportunity for people in Northern Ireland to learn about the different types of scams and how to avoid them. We were conscious that members of the community may have been excluded from the programme. However, thanks to the help of staff and service users of the Orchardville Society, we have developed the programme and are delighted that it is now more inclusive and can help more people avoid becoming a victim of a scam.”
Laura Jamison, Community Inclusion and Progression Coordinator for the Orchardville Society, said: “We are proud to work with the ScamwiseNI Partnership to educate people with learning difficulties about identifying and avoiding scams.
“We worked with one of the ScamwiseNI partners, the Consumer Council, to take the Scamwise Champion programme and pilot it with our service users. We asked how it could be improved and become more accessible for everyone. It is so essential to have a programme like this because people with learning difficulties are some of the most vulnerable members of society when it to scams. Involving our participants to test the programme was a great way of ensuring it is appropriate for this audience. Having this resource available to them to learn what a scam is, how to avoid them, how to report them and what to do if they are scammed is invaluable.”
Noyona Chundur, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council, said: “Our research shows that less than half of the Northern Ireland population know where to report a scam, which is concerning as 40% of the population has been targeted by a scam in the last three years.
“As members of the ScamwiseNI Partnership, we first designed the Scamwise Champion programme back in 2019. We are committed to continually evolving the programme to be as inclusive as possible and so that more consumers in Northern Ireland can access it and stay safe.
“It is so important to us that our messages are accessible to every consumer in Northern Ireland, which is why we are delighted to work with the Orchardville Society to create this ‘Easy Read’ format of the programme.”
To find out more about Scamwise Champion course, including the Easy Read version, contact the Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022 or email [email protected].
For more information about the ScamwiseNI Partnership and how to protect yourself from scams, visit their website (www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/scamwiseni) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/scamwiseni).