Western News

Lotto scamming a natural product of conman culture, says Dunn

Horace Hines

Thursday, December 06, 2012    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James - DIRECTOR of the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) Professor Hopeton Dunn reckons that the lottery scam is a sequel to the culture of conning and harassment of tourists which have been prevalent in the resort city of Montego Bay for many years.

According to Dunn 'conmanship' has now gone online from its usual face-to-face style.

"A big part of it (conmanship) has just moved online because the world has moved online and many of the people they want to scam are now online, which doesn't mean that the face-to-face conmanship has abated. Maybe it has, in some parts, but in my own assessment it is a continuum that needs to be brought to an end," the CARIMAC director said.

Dunn, who is also head of the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ) reflected that about five years ago he co-authored a book on people and tourism, which highlighted issues, such as harassment and conning associated with the hospitality industry.

"In that book one of the things that caught our attention was this business of harassment. ... we were talking about scenarios like face-to-face conmanship, where visitors would be conned or harassed or otherwise done out of their resources and so on. And just observing things transpiring over these few years it would seem to me that one of the things that has happened is that that same face-to-face conmanship has moved to the digital domain," he argued.

Dunn was speaking last week at the Half Moon Conference Centre in Montego Bay at a security exposition hosted by final-year public relations students attending the University of the West Indies Mona, Western Jamaica Campus, partnered by the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The CARIMAC director used the opportunity to call for an update to the Cyber Crimes Act to become more effective in the battle against cyber crimes.

He pointed to recent comments by Minister of State in the Ministry of Science and Technology Julian Robinson that "the Cyber Crimes Act, which is but two years old is already in need of update because it is not even yet able to capture what is going on. I urge him ... to speed up that particular change and to enact additional elements that can enable us to capture what is needed in relation to putting an end to the question of cyber crimes".

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