Scam mail campaign appeals for help

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THE Office of Fair Trading’s annual Scamnesty campaign has arrived in Northumberland.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of mass-marketed scam mailings in the UK and calls on those targeted to fight back against the fraudsters responsible.

It asks those affected to collect any scam mail they receive and drop it into designated boxes or report it online.

Alan Kirsop, trading standards manager for Northumberland County Council, said: “Following the success of last year’s Scamnesty campaign, we felt it was important to continue the message and raise awareness of mass-marketed scam mailings.

“Every day, people are at risk from unscrupulous fraudsters who want to con them out of their cash, and it is important that consumers recognise the increasingly sophisticated methods of scammers.

“I would urge people to make the effort to report e-mail scams online or to have a close look at your post and drop any letters which look like they could be scams into the boxes provided.

“Every scam will be looked at, so don’t assume other people will have received the same thing and notified us.”

Boxes for scam letters can be found at the county council’s information centres in Ashington, Blyth, Cramlington, Morpeth, Seaton Delaval and Bedlington, as well as Ashington, Bedlington, Cramlington and Morpeth libraries.

They have also been left out at County Hall in Morpeth, Blyth and Cramlington sports centres and Bedlington’s care trust office.

E-mail scams can be reported online at www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/reportascam

Newbiggin county councillor Alan Thompson, pictured, the authority’s executive member for public protection, added: “Nearly half of the UK adult population has been targeted by a scam.

“Every year, 3.2 million adults – one in 15 people – across the country fall victim to a scam involving deceptive unsolicited mailings, phone calls or e-mails designed to con victims out of their cash.

“The Scamnesty boxes will provide vital intelligence for the Office of Fair Trading and trading standards officers and will help future investigations to prevent others being scammed.”

If you have been the victim of a scam, call Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506 or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/scams