Scammers from across the world offer elderly resident winnings of £197m
Published Friday, 17 July 2015
Bromley Trading Standards is warning local residents to be extra vigilant in July which has been declared Scams Awareness Month 2015.
The warning follows an increase in reporting of scams in the borough following partnership working with the National Scams Team and the Post Office. Postmen and women in Bromley are receiving training on the tactics used by mail scammers to defraud customers as part of the joint nationwide initiative between Royal Mail and National Trading Standards Scams Teams. Postmen and women will be encouraged to report suspect mail to Royal Mail’s internal security team who will pass the information to Bromley Trading Standards via the National Scams Team so they can investigate suspected scam mail and support potential victims. It is estimated that mass market fraud costs the UK economy £5 billion.
One case which was previously referred to Bromley Trading Standards involved an 83-year-old woman who was the main carer for her disabled 85 year-old husband who was targeted by 92 fraudsters from across the globe offering various bogus cash prizes in exchange for administration fees. The letters were coming from as far as Australia and Hong Kong.
Executive Member for Public Protection and Safety Cllr Kate Lymer said: “This resident was at her most vulnerable. She was being targeted by fake prize draws, clairvoyants, mediums, bogus lotteries and others, all asking for advance payments of relatively small amounts of up to £35.00. In total she would have been paying £2,264 per month if she had responded to all the requests. I am happy to say she no longer sends any money and she hands over the bogus mail to our Trading Standards Team.”
The financial cost may be high, but it is the emotional trauma suffered by victims and their families which concerns Cllr Lymer. “The effect of becoming a victim of a scam can be life changing with the loss of confidence and self-esteem. Locally, we have launched an ‘Adult Safeguarding is Everybody’s Business Campaign’ in an effort to raise awareness of scams and doorstep crime and encourage neighbours, families and friends to look out for vulnerable residents in our communities. We urge anyone who suspects they know someone who is sending money abroad, or may have been the victim of a rogue trader, to call the Trading Standards’ rapid response number on 07903 852090.”
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