20 June 2012
Caerphilly County Borough Council's Trading Standards Service are again warning consumers to be extra vigilant when receiving mail which purposefully attempts to scam those who receive it.
During the month of June, the Trading Standards Team are encouraging residents to drop their scam mail into collection points across the borough. These will be located at all local libraries and the Customer First Centre's in Pontlottyn and Risca.
These scams can include misleading mail which makes false promises of large lottery wins or other high value prizes, but they always insist on payment from the recipient before any winnings can be claimed.
Cllr Dave Poole, Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services commented, "Mail of this type can often be very convincing, and it is easy for vulnerable people to fall victim to its fraudulent claims. The Trading Standards Team at Caerphilly county borough council has set up this drop off initiative so that people can easily report scam mail that they have received."
Often the elderly or vulnerable are the target of such scams and can find themselves on the receiving end of wave after wave of letters with some being sent up to 600 misleading letters a month from across the world.
Those that fall victim to this form of mail can send off hundreds of pounds a month over many years and never see a penny of the riches they are promised. According to research conducted by the Office of Fair Trading, £3.5 billion is lost to scams every year in the UK alone, equating to £850 per victim.
There are numerous ways that scam mail can reach its victims: -
- Letters from psychics or clairvoyants. Scam mail will promise to make predictions that will alter your fortunes for a fee. Sometimes they threaten that bad things will happen if you don't respond.
- 'Phishing' for your identity. Such scammers ask for your personal account details claiming that they are from a legitimate business that you usually deal with. They will use your details to take money from your account or to buy luxury items on your account.
- Bogus holiday clubs. Offers of a free luxury holiday often come with hidden expenses such as flights, meals and other add ons. You may be subjected to a long presentation to sell you an unwanted timeshare deal.
- Pyramid selling/gifting schemes. Recipients are asked to pay a fee and sign up new members. Such schemes offer rich rewards once you have recruited enough members. These schemes are always illegal; people have lost thousands waiting for the promised payout.
- Lotteries, sweepstakes and competitions. Promises are made that the recipient has won something but they must send an "administration" fee first. These fraudulent companies make their money from the fees people send or from the victims calling the number they provide which cost a fortune on their next bill.
- Unwanted SMS (text) services on your mobile phone. Check all terms and conditions carefully, you should not be charged for a text service unless you have agreed to it. Text STOP to the number and the service should cease.
- Foreign money scams and advance fee scams. These scams may claim that they are trying to get money out of their country, that you have been left money in a foreign will or that you have been awarded a large loan at favourable rates. The fee that the victim sends off in order to claim their promised large sum will never be seen again.
- Online dating offering a dream partner from overseas. A conversation may start up with the dream partner, which will eventually result in them asking the victim for money for their education, their poor family or to pay for a flight to come and visit you.
- Golden investment opportunities will offer the opportunity to put your money into a sure fire scheme to make money by investing in such things as shares, wine, gemstones and other rare items. The items they offer will be expensive, very high risk and difficult to sell.
- Land banking schemes. This scam involves fraudulent people trying to get individuals to invest in over priced or non existent shares in land. They telephone people and use high pressure sales techniques to get unsuspecting consumers to invest in these worthless pieces of land.
If you are are a resident of Caerphilly county borough and are concerned about any type of scam mail, please contact Caerphilly County Borough Council's Trading Services Service on 01495 235 291.
- Return to News