‘Snail’ mail may not be a fashionable as it was, however it is still popular with scammers and people are still falling victim to it! Scammers are often targeting the elderly, particularly those living alone, without to the internet or other means of being educated about such scams. Once conned, they end up on “sucker lists” and fall prey to others.
To understand the impact of this crime we cannot do any better than suggest you go to the THINK JESSiCA website. Jessica’s Story gives graphic details of how the scams are committed time and again. Or read about
the 77 year old, retired nurse, who was conned for years into paying for worthless vitamins. If you are not yet convinced and you want more of these examples of these disgraceful crimes, they have many more videos or scam stories available here.
Leon Livermore, CEO Trading Standards Institute says, “Trading Standards Officers up and down the country are working hard to help protect vulnerable people from these types of scams. Unfortunately some victims are like Jessica and refuse to accept any help or intervention. The impact on them and their families can be truly devastating. The Institute is fully behind the campaign to get Jessica Scam Syndrome recognised, as we believe that this will be a valuable tool in helping professionals protect and support victims and potential victims”
Age UK offers the following excellent advice to avoid mail scams:
- Contact the Mailing Preference Service to have your name taken off direct mailing lists in the UK (this won’t cover mail that is unaddressed or from overseas)
- Put a ‘no junk mail’ sign on your door
- If you receive something you think may be a scam, don’t respond, as this can cause you to get more letters
- If you have received or are receiving something that looks like scam mail, talk about it to someone you trust such as a friend or family member, or call Age UK Advice on 0800 169 65 65 (FREE.)
In September 2014 they introduced an initiative to tackle scam mail with Trading Standards. You can read about it here.
What Can You Do? As a carer, such as a relative, friend or neighbour (or even a care professional), you may
be one of the few people in regular contact with the person you look after. You are in a unique position to help prevent them from being scammed. You can do that by knowing what to look out for, passing on some simple tips (if they are able to act on them), and knowing where to go for help.
Download this pdf document to explain more in detail. Carers