The scale of the fight against scam mail has been exposed once more after one Bristol resident revealed he gets more than 500 unwanted mailshots a month after replying to just one rogue missive.
The issue began when Raymond Rose received a letter telling him he had won money in a lottery. Rose, who plays the National Lottery every week, responded straight away, with his address, bank details and a cheque for £25.
But it turned out to be a scam and his details were then included in a so-called “suckers list” and sold on to thousands of other rogue companies.
He soon started receiving post through his door telling him to update his bank details or that he had won even more cash. With money tight, Rose started replying, hoping he would be able to meet mounting medical costs of his disabled wife. But despite him spending £3,000 he never recevied a penny.
Some letters even claimed to be from charities – the letters were “signed off” by chief executives and contained charity numbers – telling him he had to update his debit details. Because he gave donations to charities, he would regularly reply to these letters with those details.
Earlier this year, police and trading standards carried out a raid on an apartment and found his details among victims’ names and addresses.
Despite the raid, he continues to receive all sorts of letters – from charities, overseas lottery companies, clairvoyants – and some even claiming to increase his pension.
According to the latest National Trading Standards figures released in November last year, 240,000 people are now on suckers lists – a 40,000 in three months – with an average age of 74 years old.
At the time, Royal Mail said it had cancelled nine contracts over the past two years with firms it found to be issuing fraudulent mail. The Advertising Standards Authority has also launched a campaign to raise awareness of the issue.
It said: “While there is a legitimate market for promotional mailings, there are some companies who do not treat consumers fairly. Instead they use misleading tactics to make illegitimate profit.”
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