An elderly victim who lost tens of thousands of pounds to scammers has been helped by the police and County Council community services.
Now Cambridgeshire Constabulary and the County Council’s Community Protection team are urging residents who receive letters promising prize winnings and good fortune to treat them as ‘too good to be true’.
The elderly victim was discovered to have been targeted by scam companies which tricked them into sending money for fake lottery and prize draws, health cures and psychic predictions.
The hundreds of letters received by the victim appeared to be from legitimate companies, government departments and suchlike and were designed to dupe the victim into believing they were genuine.
On investigation, PCSO Thomas Baugh and Crime Reduction Officer Rachel Carr found the victim had been sending money to scam companies over a period of years. They noted that on one occasion there had been several bank transactions amounting to hundreds of pounds within a two day period.
Officers are now working to support the victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, including measures to help reduce the scam mail received and assistance in recognising and dealing with any scam mail that continues to arrive on their doormat. The National Trading Standards Scams Team has also been informed and are working to trace the money trails and identify the scammers involved.
PCSO Thomas Baugh said: “This is one of the worst cases of scam mail I have seen in a long-time, I was very pleased to be able to intervene and make a difference to this vulnerable victim; who truly believed they would win a prize or financial reward by responding to the mailings they received.”
Elaine Matthews, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Community Resilience Development Manager says “Scam letters are carefully designed to look extremely convincing and genuine in order to trick their recipients into sending their hard earned cash. The reality is that money is usually used to fund organised crime such as drug trafficking, people trafficking, prostitution and terrorism”.
Sgt Mark Rabel adds “If you have not been to, for example Australia and bought an Australian lottery ticket then you simply cannot have won a prize. Also a genuine prize draw would not request payment of a fee to release winnings. Beware of any unsolicited letter which suggests you are in line for a windfall if you did not enter the competition in the first place. If it sounds too good to be true then it almost certainly is”.
If you think you or someone you know has been targeted by scams contact Citizens Advice on 03454 040506 www.consumerhub.org Also report details to Action Fraud as below.
If you believe you or someone you know has been the victim of scam mail or telephone fraud please report to Action Fraud 0300 123 2040 www.actionfraud.police.uk
Think Jessica is a charity that works with victims and their families to highlight the problem of scam mail and telephone fraud. The conditioning methods employed by scammers, can result in the victim becoming more and more isolated.
This conditioning is known as ‘Jessica Scam Syndrome’ (JSS) which is named after the charity founder’s mother who was a serious victim of scam mail.
For advice information and support contact Think Jessica.