Mon | Mar 30, 2020

Social-media war declared on lotto scammers

Published:Tuesday | May 23, 2017 | 12:00 AMOkoye Henry

Western Bureau:

The Anti-Lottery Scam Task Force, which is now on a high following the recent extradition of several high-profile, alleged 'lotto scammers' has opened up another front in its war against the fraudulent scheme, using social media as its latest weapon.

In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, Sergeant Kevin Watson, who heads the task force, which features both local and United States law-enforcement officers, said a website has been created, which is showing anti-lottery scamming videos. They are designed to sensitise the public about the dangers of the illicit scheme.

According to Watson, the videos have been generating thousands of views with positive feedback, particularly from the young people, who are statistically more involved in the illicit and oftentimes deadly scheme.

"A month ago, we (the task force) released a video showing the 10 reasons why lottery scamming is wrong, and we are retargeting the video that teaches the 10 ways to avoid being scammed," said Watson, who is the narrator on some of the videos.




The videos can be found on Watson's Facebook page, as well on his YouTube channel, The Noble Cop, which was created in 2013. In one of the videos, which has been attracting much attention, Watson is seen deejaying on a bouncy dancehall rhythm, doing a counteraction song to a top-flight Jamaican dancehall star who has a song praising lottery scamming.

"That channel is really there to educate people who say scamming is not a problem, as we (the authorities) make it out to be," said Watson. "Of course, persons can't be on those operations to see what we see, so this channel has a number of videos that highlight what takes place on operations and what we recover."

... Tearful confessions

Some of the videos captured live scenes during actual raids by the task force and shows scammers being arrested and illicit items being seized. There is even footage showing tearful confessions by scammers, begging to be given a chance.

"It is really a way to let them (viewers) see what is going on and to let them understand the magnitude of the problem of scamming. It is a culture of promoting criminality, but what we are saying is that these things add to the problem that we are having," said Watson.

Watson said that the positive feedback of the public to the videos, particularly from youngsters, proves that the online campaign is bearing some fruit in swaying young minds from getting involved in lottery scamming.

"I don't think we have been placing a lot of emphasis on reaching persons on social media. So I am basically doing my part, because I realise that I can perhaps have some impact in the bid to reach the masses and change their perspective," noted Watson.