Sheffield scammers 'posing as deaf people' conning people in city centre

The form the scammers use (photo: Facebook).
The form the scammers use (photo: Facebook).
Have your say

Scammers posing as deaf people are conning students and workers in Sheffield city centre out of their hard earned money.

The group of fraudsters have been seen multiple times in the Howard Street area and near Sheffield Hallam University, ostensibly collecting money for a charity.

The group solicit donations from members of the public by pretending to be deaf - even going so far as to pretend to ‘communicate’ with sign language.

However, the gestures they are using are not real sign language, and those who have seen them at work say it is obviously a scam.

Rosie Scott, 21, who works at the Motore Cafe on Howard Street, said: “I have been telling my customers that it is a scam and not to give them money.

“When I saw them again on Tuesday (July 3) I was fuming. I was trying to be tactful but I went up to them and said ‘I know you are not deaf’.”

“I said to them if you need money I can put you in touch with someone like the Archer Project.”

“They really upset one woman whose daughter had given them some money. That was really sad to see.”

Rosie says she has seen the group six or seven times in the area, but the members differ from time to time.

One is a young woman in her 20s, with a slightly dark complexion, and brown hair and eyes.

Another is a teenage boy with a similar complexion, and they are sometimes accompanied by an older woman.

They claim to be raising money for a organisation called the Certified Regional Association for Deaf Persons with Disabilities and for Children.

However, an article from March in the Coventry Telegraph exposing their scam says people in the city took to social media to share their stories of being conned.

Rosie says she has called the city centre ambassadors a couple of times about them, but they have always arrived after they have left.

However, once when she reported them, a police community support officer did respond in time but the group ran away.

Richard Eyre, head of city centre, CCTV, major events and markets for Sheffield Council, said: “We would ask all members of the public to be vigilant.

"All authorised charity collectors should have an ID badge along with a street collection license from our licensing team which anyone can ask to see.

"If they don’t then please do not give money or financial details.”