A nationwide ‘Scamnesty’ campaign has revealed the scale of mass-marketed scam mailings targeting UK residents.
Mike Healy, head of the Scambusters Unit at the Office of Fair Trading, has thanked Neighbourhood Watch groups for supporting the campaign.
Every year three million people in the UK lose money to mass marketed scams they receive by mail, email, text or over the phone which are designed to con victims out of their cash.
The 'Scamnesty' campaign called on the public to fight back against the scammers by collecting any scam mailings they had received and dropping them into designated 'Scamnesty' bins at local libraries and other public areas across the country.
More than 15,000 scam mailings were deposited in Scamnesty bins in 50 local authority areas across the country.
The campaign revealed that the top five mass-marketed scam mailings in the UK are:
- Deceptive sweepstakes
- Misleading prize draws
- Fake clairvoyants/psychics
- Bogus foreign lotteries
- 'Miracle' health cures
The scam mailings have provided vital intelligence to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and local authority Trading Standards Services and have helped inform future investigations which will prevent others from being scammed.
Mike Haley, OFT Director of Consumer Protection, said: "The huge range of mailings uncovered by the Scamnesty campaign illustrate that there really is a scam for everyone. This campaign has provided crucial intelligence, helping us to stop scams bringing misery to millions of people every year.'
If you think you have been the victim of a scam, or you suspect a scam, call Consumer Direct for clear, practical advice on 08454 04 05 06. Consumers can also report scams online by clicking here.