Posties sign up as Herts scam watchdogs offer to deliver awareness training to protect vulnerable
PUBLISHED: 12:14 13 July 2015
Trading standards watchdogs in Herts are teaming up with Royal Mail postal workers to try and thwart scammers who are targeting potential victims in the county.
Postal scams are estimated to cost UK consumers £10 billion per year but now postal staff will be asked to report households they believe could be susceptible to mail scams to Royal Mail’s internal security team.
Those tips will be passed on to a national task force which can investigate suspected scam mail, with Herts County Council’s trading standards team on hand to support potential victims.
Councillor Richard Thake, County Hall’s lead member on community safety, said: “Training is an important part of our work to disrupt scam mail operations and reduce people’s exposure to this crime.
“We are pleased to be working with Royal Mail, so we will be able to help people – who are often older or vulnerable – to prevent them from being targeted in their homes.”
Most of Hertfordshire’s scams come by post, with people falling prey to fake lotteries, prize draw wins and catalogue scams, in which over-priced goods have to be bought from a catalogue in order to receive the ‘winnings’.
Once someone responds to one such scam their details are then sold on to other companies to exploit. This can result in the respondent being inundated with as much as 50 items of mail daily, promising guaranteed winnings. Direct mail scams are often targeted at older and vulnerable people.
Councillor Thake added: “Sadly, older people and particularly those living alone can fall prey to scammers
“We are using National Scams Awareness Month as an opportunity to call on residents to report scams and take steps to protect their friends, family and neighbours from postal scams.”
If anyone has been scammed, or think someone has tried to scam them:
Phone 03454 04 05 06 and report scam details.
Phone Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk/contact-us
Warn someone – educate a friend, neighbour or relative about the dangers of scams.
To protect yourself from postal scams:
Sign up to the Mail Preference Service as it will cut down on mail sent from this country
Look at the outside of the envelope and decide if it’s likely to be a scam. The envelope usually says something like ‘winning documentation, confirmed cheque, guaranteed delivery of a cheque for £xxx, reply immediately’ Throw them away without opening them.
Often these scam mailings come from abroad. Unless you have family or friends in those places throw these ones away without opening them too.
Ask friends, neighbours or family if you are interested in an offer, to help check out if it is likely to be a scam.
Destroy and throw away mailings (but shred your details first).
For more advice on how to avoid scams visit www.hertsdirect.org/scams and follow @hertscc on Twitter.