Scammers from across the world offer elderly resident winnings of £197 million
Bromley Trading Standards are warning local residents to be extra vigilant in July 2015 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.
One case which was referred to the trading standards team 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 cash prizes – in exchange for administration fees. The letters were coming from as far as Australia and Hong Kong.
Portfolio Holder for Public Protection and Community 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”.
Trading Standards at Bromley have recently started training local post workers to be on the look out for scam mail on their rounds and report their suspicions to the trading standards team. The initiative was set up with the Royal Mail and the National Scams Team to tackle mass market fraud, which some estimates suggest cost the UK economy £5 billion.
The financial cost may be high, but 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 the awareness of scams and doorstep crime in the community and encourage neighbours, families and friends to look out for the 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.”