Mail Scams

‘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
Jessica 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 SCAMcountry 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.)

The Royal Mail also provides help in “What can I do about scam mail?”

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), yCarers Guideou 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

Scams and fraud

Scams & Fraud

According to the Metropolitan Police, scams cost the British public Billions (yes – that’s Billions) of pounds every year. They come door-to-door, by mail, phone and online and they get more sophisticated every day and are a widespread problem. A Which? Survey in 2015 found that 54% of respondents had either personally been exposed to a scam, or had a friend or relative who had been, within the last 2 years. How can we protect ourselves from this onslaught?

There is a wealth of information online about how to recognise scams and fraud, and give details about the wide range that have been identified. The Little Book of Big Scams (little_book_scam) and the Scam Guide are two excellent resources.

It is unfortunately true that we all have to put time, effort and resources into keeping ourselves safe fromToo Good all forms of crime. That is the world we live in. Reading the examples in the resources presented above is well worthwhile. But there are two general principles that will help to keep you from falling prey to scams and fraud.

  1. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”
  2. Do not respond to “cold callers”.

Think: did you do anything to initiate the contact? If not, then do not reply. We do not like to be rude to somebody at the door or on the phone. You don’t have to be rude; just say “No thank you” and shut the door or put the phone down. Don’t fall for the “I’m not selling anything, I am just doing a survey for …..”. If it arrives in the mail, just put the letter or flyer in the bin.

Online scams and fraud are increasing rapidly. Suspect emails may be routed to your Spam or Trash folders by your ISP. Delete them without even opening them unless you are very sure that you recognise the sender (some emails do get directed incorrectly by the ISP but be careful if you accept them). Phishing emails, that appear authentic and to originate from authoritative sources such as your bank, are becoming more prevalent. It is very likely that you will have received emails from supposed banks with which you do not even have an account. They should be easy to spot! Your bank or companies like Amazon will never ask you for sensitive information to be sent to them by email. Never respond to such emails or click on links they contain, even if you think they might genuine. If you want to check, get their phone number from your account statement and call them. And, whatever you do, never, ever click on a link in an email. It might appear that it will take you to your bank web site but it is easy to set it up to take you elsewhere.

You can avoid some unwanted phone calls by registering with the Telephone Preference Service. Unfortunately, this does not prevent all unwanted calls and scammers are least likely to abide by their rules. For a small cost, you can purchase a call blocking device that attaches to your phone and allows you to receive only calls you want to accept. BT also has a range of phones with the built-in capability of call blocking.