Westjustice & Scope Launch Easy English Scams Guide

This ‘Scams Awareness Week’, Westjustice and Scope are excited to launch this Easy English guide on avoiding scams. You can find the guide here

‘Easy English’ or accessible written information is a simple and concise style of writing and images to explain certain concepts. Easy English can help everyone, including people with intellectual disabilities, people who speak a language other than English, and older Australians.

During COVID, Westjustice saw scams increase at a time when accessing information and assistance was more difficult than ever. This guide will go a long way to helping many in our community to be on alert for scams, and able to seek help if they are scammed. This guide was made possible by a Thriving Communities Partnership Grant.

Read our case study below to see how Easy English will start making an important difference for people in Melbourne’s Western Suburbs.

Gewa is a middle-aged woman who is a refugee from the Burmese community. She only receives the disability support pension. Gewa is not very confident about using the internet and smart phones and does not speak very much English. She prefers to go into places face to face with a friend’s help or by using gestures and images to make herself understood. As a result she found the lockdown very challenging sometimes.

She had always wanted to go and visit other family members overseas and her small amount of savings meant everything to her. During lockdown, a friend told her about an investment opportunity involving an ‘app’ on her phone that she could transfer money into. Gewa had never invested before but trusted the community most of all. She had to get help to transfer the money from another friend because she didn’t understand online payments.

It turned out to be a scam and Gewa lost all of her savings. Gewa was helped by a community lawyer to get a compassionate payment from her bank, but this is rare and most people never get refunded the money they lose.

Gewa is very relieved and is now very careful – but she would have benefitted from a guide like this one to encourage her to stop before deciding to send money to an unknown place or person.