Child scammers - students' involvement triggers police campaign
The police have established that youth as young as 10 years old have been introduced to lottery scamming activities, and others who are of the age to be considered school children, have been recruited to the illicit trade.
As such they have embarked on various initiatives including meeting with stakeholders and community groups to place them on guard.
"What we have done is sensitisation by working with schools, parent teachers association and communities to be aware of activities involving children and keep a closer watch and to be aware of their friends," said assistant commissioner of police Clifford Chambers, head of the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime investigation branch (CTOC).
He said boys, who are of a certain age to be in school, are linking with scammers.
"They are recruited to be diallers (callers) who are requested by persons in the scam or their associates. The adults or guardian under whose control these children are, are not aware," he said.
Chambers also noted that many parents are against children becoming involved in lottery scam.
Public relations officer for the Anti Lottery Scam Task Force, Sergeant Kevin Watson, spearheads the Stop Lottery Scamming campaign, which engages students to say no to the illicit trade.
"We went on a particular operation and a 10-year-old girl was seen leaving a premises with a knapsack on her back after the police raided a premises that she and her father and brother lived," he said.
The knapsack was searched and a laptop which contained identity information of persons overseas was found.
"It came to me that children are seriously being groomed for the activities of lottery scam from that early age. We have gone into more than 50 schools in area one (Westmoreland, Hanover, St James, Trelawny) and spoken to more than 50,000 students with regards to immorality and criminality of lottery scamming," he said.
The police believe their anti-scamming campaign has received good feedback and changed the perception of students who wanted to become scammers.
They say they intend to continue the campaign until they can impact a mindset change in these young people.