A powerful short play depicting just how easy it is to fall victim to scammers is available to watch online.
Described as ‘informative, creative and engaging’, ‘Deception’ by Patricia Downey from Spanner in the Works Theatre Company, sponsored by the NI Cyber Security Centre in partnership with ScamwiseNI, has been performed in front of more than 2,000 people in schools and in community settings across Northern Ireland.
Raising awareness of current scams, how to spot them and stop them, ‘Deception’, uses a fictional scenario to tell the story of how one member of a family falls for a scam online and how one member avoids becoming a victim.
Viewers will watch how the victim in this fictional family is duped in what begins as an innocent encounter online.
“I didn’t think twice about transferring the money. He was my friend,” the victim tells police when she’s reporting it. “£10,000, then silence. No more messages. His Facebook page was deactivated and his mobile number was dead.”
Joe Dolan, Head of the NI Cyber Security Centre, which is part of the Department of Finance, said: “We are proud to sponsor this innovative way to get the scam message across to a wide range of audiences. Deception is an excellent play which reflects just how easily anyone can become a victim of this type of crime and I am delighted to support it. It provides a platform for everyone to start that important conversation with family and friends about scams and think about the importance of being vigilant and the steps we can all take to protect ourselves and our loved ones better. I would encourage everyone to take the time to watch it and share with others.”
Chair of the ScamwiseNI Partnership, Superintendent Gerard Pollock said: “The scenario played out in ‘Deception’, is a powerful human story, where the scammer targets their victim through a simple online friend request. It’s a story all too common and has happened too many times.
“Last year, The Police Service of Northern Ireland received 8,629 reports of fraud or scam, but we know there are many instances which have not been reported. Some of the victims who bravely reported the deception they’ve experienced to us have been left penniless, and it’s devastating for them. Scammers are criminals who are relentless in their quest to steal people’s money, which is why it’s really important to encourage conversation among friends, family and loved ones about how to spot and how to stop scams.
“Deception lies at the heart of all scams we see today. That deception is always about who the person calling or texting you actually is, so it really is an apt name for this play. What it does so well is put a face to and give voice to those devastating statistics we read about each day. This play is such an important tool in the fight against fraudsters and I encourage everyone to watch it.”