Scams Bulletin 9

This week’s very brief discussion is about your letter box and the scam letters that come through it.

Although we focus a lot on email scams, postal scams have been around a lot longer and reach a lot of people who are not even connected to computers.

Postal scams trick the reader into assuming they have won something or can get a reward in other ways, but start by requiring the reader to send money or information to get things started. Unfortunately many recipients enjoy the communication that the correspondence brings and then once the scammers know there is someone responding they can intensify their mail outs and even sell names and addresses as ‘mug’ lists to other scammers.

Scam victims can end up with continual letters – often thousands of them – and they part with their money and it can affect them mentally, emotionally and physically. Like all scams, these letters are crimes and have very real victims.

Please watch out for scam letters – don’t fall for them yourself and ensure others know the signs and how to deal with them.

So a few useful resources this week:

A useful starting guide is one from Which on how to avoid postal scams here.

It’s important to recognise the difference between scam letters and simple, unwanted junk mail. Then it’s a case of watching out for the warning signs – is the offer too good to be true? Scam letters can have mistakes and telltale signs but it can be very difficult for someone who is perhaps vulnerable to spot these signs. So it’s a case of helping each other to look out for scam mail and ensure people are not responding to it.

Just like the advice for scam emails, it’s worth taking 5 minutes with Scam letters to talk to someone else, get advice, perhaps investigate further, and not start thinking that every piece of post needs a response.

If Scam post is received then it should be reported. And Royal Mail has a detailed guide on reporting scam letters here.

(Not related to letters, but it’s worth noting a useful guide on the Royal Mail site of the latest scam emails that pretend to come from Royal Mail. Make sure you’re aware of these too.)

Other useful guides to scam mail are:

OurWatch guide here

Age UK guide here

So be aware of what to look for in scam letters and help others to be aware too. Report letters if you can, to help break the cycle of scam letters being sent out.

More next week. Join us on the Network Discussion site to continue the conversations.

Karl Elliott,
Development Manager, VANEL
and development support for NEL Watch