Deaf community warns against card-selling scam
A deaf organisation has issued a scam warning following reports of people pretending to be deaf, and profiting from selling unofficial New Zealand Sign Language education cards.
Deaf Action New Zealand posted photos of the cards on social media with a warning, which yielded many comments from people who had seen the cards being sold, mostly by women.
Deaf Action NZ secretary Rachel Noble said the cards were reportedly being sold in Lower Hutt, Wellington and Auckland but had no affiliation with deaf organisations and communities registered with the Charity Commission.
The cards included the NZ Sign Language alphabet which appeared to have been copied from Deaf Aotearoa’s free education resources.
They were being sold for $5 and claimed to be ‘‘the voice of a group of deaf people’’.
‘‘I am deaf since the childhood [sic],’’ a card read. ‘‘Our goal is to earn a living.’’
Noble said the first time a deaf person raised concerns about the cards was in April last year but reports had escalated recently. She said it seemed many had purchased the cards.
Money given to these people would not support official deaf communities, most of which were volunteer-operated groups, she said. ‘‘We are furious about what it is doing to our reputation.
‘‘Something needs to be done.’’
She said it was unlikely the sellers had paid tax on their earnings.
Deaf Aotearoa president Oliver Ferguson said it had been contacted to ask if it was connected to the card-sellers. He was disappointed well-meaning people in shops and their workplaces were being targeted.
‘‘I am angry. This is a nuisance. These people think they are donating to a good cause.’’ Despite the NZSL alphabet chart on the cards being Deaf Aotearoa’s resources, he said it had nothing to do with the sales. ‘‘In fact, we have resources – such as the alphabet – freely accessible through our website [Deaf Aotearoa].’’