These are two of the most common scams. Victims are told they have won a fantastic prize or large amount of cash but are asked to send some sort of fee to release it.
Clairvoyant scammers have no idea who will be reading their letters but show false concern and pretend they are going to a lot of trouble to give the reader good health, wealth and happiness.
They weave some very imaginative and tall stories, including performing rituals or sensing danger.
They often blackmail victims by telling them “bad luck will befall you if you don’t pay up”.
Banks and building society scams
Scammers sometimes send out authentic looking scam mail claiming to be from banks and building societies, asking for information and/or cash.
It’s more prolific via email but is also being sent by post.
Debt recovery scams
Scammers contact the victim by letter or telephone and claim they have bought a debt with their name on it from a reputable company or utility supplier.
They threaten court action if the fictitious bill or fine isn’t paid quickly.
Parcel delivery scam
A card is posted through the victim’s door stating that a delivery service was unable to deliver a parcel and that they need to contact the service by phone.
The card gives a premium rate number to call.
This turns out to be a long, recorded message and all the victim receives is a hefty phone bill.
Prize holding scam
Scammers know that all the people whose names are on their lists will already have sent money to scams and been tricked into thinking a cheque or prize is coming their way.
They try to cash in again by saying that an unclaimed prize is being held in their name, but a payment is required to release it.
Scammers send out literature selling a variety of different products including food, pills, potions, jewellery, clothes, beauty products and items for the home and garden.
They guarantee prizes to those who order but they never send the promised prize. Instead, they send out more ‘dazzling’ promises to get more orders.
Catalogue scams often involve the victim receiving phone calls confirming the ‘win’ or being told to look out for ‘important’ letters arriving.
You can watch a video about catalogue scams here
Why have I been targeted?
Either because scammers have ‘bought’ a mailing list with your details on it or you have responded to a tempting letter, phone call or advertisement.
Will registering with the Mail Preference Service (MPS) stop me from getting scam mail?
No. Registering with the MPS will only reduce junk mail. Junk mail is the name given to legitimate mail which promotes goods and services. Junk mail is sometimes seen as a nuisance, but it is not the same as ‘Scam’ mail.
Why can’t the MPS stop scam mail?
Because they can’t stop mail addressed to an individual by name. The Royal Mail has a legal obligation to deliver all addressed mail.
What tricks do the scammers use?
Scammers are very crafty. They know how to dazzle minds and shut down the normal thought process. Someone whose mind has been dazzled will become excited and start to focus on the prize rather than the fact that they are being asked to send cash to claim it.
Here are just a few of the dazzling words and statements scammers use:
Congratulations, Won The Lottery, Guaranteed Winner, Highly Confidential, Unclaimed Prize/ Award, Sworn to Secrecy, Time Sensitive Document.
Once scammers have dazzled and hooked their victims, they trap them in a never ending cycle of letters and payments by asking for taxes, release fees, administration charges and anything else they can think of to keep the victim sending cash.
To make the scams more convincing scammers often ask the victim how they would like the non-existent payment to be made e.g. cash, cheque or money transfer?
What other tricks do scammers use?
Scammers send out false testimonials and photographs of fictitious winners. They claim to be lottery officials, presidents of banks, solicitors, clairvoyants and use other important sounding titles and names.
Scammers sometimes disguise their mailbox addresses by calling them things like suites, units or apartments to create the illusion they are operating from a traceable office or grand building.
Scammers try to trick people into sending them passports, photographs and birth certificates and pretend they are arranging celebration parties or sending out photographers.
Why do some people repeatedly fall for scams?
This could be because they are over-trusting, socially isolated or suffering from a mental incapacity, such as age-related declining mental health or dementia. These victims refuse to believe they are being scammed and spend most of their time reading, sorting and replying to scams.
The scam mail knits together and forms a delusional world that becomes their reality. Victims like Jessica shun all help and advice. Sometimes this is because clairvoyant scammers have turned them against their families.
Where does scam mail come from?
Scam mail can come from anywhere in the world.