Fife Council’s Trading Standards Team is backing a nationwide campaign to combat the scourge of scam mail. Members of the public are this month being urged to send the National Trading Standards Scams Team examples of scam mail they receive in the post as part of a new ‘Scamnesty’. The Scamnesty will help Trading Standards Officers build intelligence about the criminals behind the latest scams being sent to Brits this winter.
Organised criminals try to con the public by sending scam mail through the post such as:
- fake lottery draws
- romance scams
- unclaimed inheritance scams
- and clairvoyant scams
The fraudsters are also continually adapting their techniques.
The criminals use a wide range of measures to create an illusion of legitimacy and give people false hope of a big pay-out or a better life. Scam mail often includes a competition question to hook recipients into the scam.
Consumers are advised that some of the tricks the scammers use include:
- Personalising mail using the recipient’s name throughout as well as on images such as certificates and cheques
- Artwork that purports to be genuine, for instance, the use of a seal or crest and fonts that suggest they come from a financial institution or official body
- Words like’ guaranteed’ or ‘100% genuine’ as well as precise amounts of money
- Signatures from officials with senior ranking titles and identification numbers that suggest legitimacy
Louise Baxter, Head of the National Trading Standards Scams Team, said:
“It’s not just vulnerable people who fall prey to scam mail. The criminals take great care to ensure their mailings look genuine. Many of us have felt anxious and lonely during the pandemic, and fraudsters will not hesitate to prey on our emotions by sending us fake stories of hope. Consumers need to be extra vigilant. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Send us the scam mail and help us prevent more people being conned.”
Scam mail should be sent to:
More information on the Scamnesty is available at www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk/scamnesty
Dawn Adamson, Service Manager of the Fife Trading Standards Team added:
“The National Trading Standards Scams Team have done some fantastic work in preventing fraudulent mail reaching members of the public by using effective disruption techniques. Since 2016, this has resulted in more than £100 million in financial savings and estimated healthcare & health related quality of life savings for UK do to nullify their threat. I would encourage any member of the local community who has received scam mail to get involved in the ‘Scamnesty’ and send it on to the freepost address. Every bit of help is vital in the fight against this ever-increasing problem.”
For general advice on scams you can contact Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or at www.consumeradvice.scot If you believe you have fallen victim to a scam you should contact Police Scotland as quickly as possible by calling 101.