A Rugby man with more than £20,000 in savings fell into debt thanks to scam mail which is being targeted this month.
The man was sending money to postal scam fraudsters who promised he had won cars, lotteries and other prizes, despite the fact he had never entered any competitions.
Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards is cracking down on the scams as part of Scams Awareness Month 2017.
Portfolio holder for community safety Cllr Howard Roberts said: “We’ve all seen them, envelopes stamped ‘Euro Lottery Winner’, ‘Official Government Award’ or ‘Good Luck Inside’ and most of us will immediately consign them to the recycling bin.
“Unfortunately though some people do respond, sending money, cheques and in some cases their bank account numbers and PINS.
“These people are then drawn in to the scam, paying out ever more money in the hope of receiving a pay-out that will never come.
“In Warwickshire, our Trading Standards officers are working locally with Royal Mail postal workers and nationally with the National Scams Team to identify and support these victims, intercepting their letters and returning their money.”
A south Warwickshire resident paid out over £1,000 in a month to postal fraudsters who she believed were her ‘friends’.
She was told she won a large sum of money but the fraudsters were selling her huge quantities of vitamin pills.
Most postal scams rely upon the recipient believing they have won a lottery prize or are entitled to a gift or government pay-out, in return for an ‘administration fee’.
In reality, the cash prize or pay-out never materialises and the ‘gift’ is usually worth considerably less than the cost of receiving it.
Some postal scams, particularly those sent by bogus clairvoyants are more sinister, frightening recipients into paying out for ‘lucky charms’ to avoid receiving bad luck, which it is claimed, might endanger themselves or their families.
Across the UK reports of scams and frauds have risen by eight per cent this year to an estimated 3.6m cases.
UK residents are believed to lose over £10bn to frauds and scams each year.
For more information visit warwickshire.gov.uk/scams.