SSW Blog

Fed Up With Scams

Posted on | April 17, 2009 | 1 Comment

I bet most of you are tired of being victims by scammers. Scammers target Deaf and hard of hearing community by taking an advantage of IP based relay services, email, social networking such as Facebook and AIM. We need to work together and fight back against scammers. How? I know it is not easy to answer although we don’t have any resource to help protect ourselves against future scams. We would increase more awareness and understanding about types of scams.

In latest events, some deaf people were victims by losing thousands of dollars (not just hundreds but thousands of money!), and even losing their homes. Sadly several deaf “friends” had convinced their deaf colleagues who were unwary of sly covert scams but they ended up losing trust to each other. That is one of the worst nightmares because one of your friends or even closest best friend could scam or defraud you!

There are several web sites to offer tips and advices but troubling is lack of whose ownership and reliability of these websites. For example, take a look at Stop Relay Abuse. Who is running the site? What purpose does this site provide for? How good would information be reliable? When was information being posted?  It looks like this site showed its last activity in 2005. It is insufficient  and unfortunately poor resource.  I am unable to compliment some relay agents for their willing to speak up or set up the web site as similar to Stop Relay Abuse not just because of their positions but who or what organization do they represent? or what if we don’t want them to speak for us?  Who are they thinking that they are qualified for their expertise for the Deaf and hard of hearing community? They should have asked deaf organizations first (on courtesy) before they plan setting up their websites.

Look at another example, a guy named Spencer Critchley is a freelance writer at his blog about four parts on IP relay abuse. I believe his writing about four parts is very good informative as it provides insights by both sides of relay agent and deaf organization. Clapping our hands for his wonderful job!

When you receive any email or letter you are not sure whether it is authentic or real. Please be encouraged to double-check by visiting, search engines (e.g.,,, or and several federal government sites (e.g., Internet Crime Complaint Center ).

Some popular tips for scams are as follows:

  • long weird domain names (e.g.,
  • ask for money, no matter, any service fee
  • too much personal questions
  • inform you about friends or family (e.g., “Your sister, ANN is my friend”)
  • threats (e.g., your wife is in auto accident.”)
  • misspelled words or odd numbers (e.g., %5.##)
  • trust your instinct (when you doubt it please discard it quickly.)

Who are scammers?

Everyone could be scammers. Sad you never know your friend who may be one of them. Even you would find beautiful woman or handsome man in photo. Best thing for Deaf community is to ask for videophone and so you would identify the person through your videophone. In most cases they are turning away when being forced to speak via videophone. I am pleased when learning that Nigeria has its Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Please visit one of some videos about ongoing scam arrests by EFCC. (Those videos are not captioned.)

Especially during this bad time of economy we have to watch out for fake jobs, bogus employers and other different type of scams for job seekers, new college graduates, and unemployed people.  One of several web sites offers some excellent tips, thanks to

Let’s be a strong Scam Proof! Please feel free to share your experience with scammers or offer tips against scams.