A fresh initiative to tackle the blight of scam mail has come under fire from a leading campaign group, which clams the problem has rocketed over the past two years and is now costs UK consumers more than £10bn a year.
Despite a concerted effort by the authorites, including the National Fraud Authority and the Metropolitan Police, the value of scam mail has rocketed from £2.5bn in 2012 to the current figure. The issue is a major concern for the DMA as it brings the whole industry into disrepute.
Under the new scheme, Trading Standards will determine whether a mailing is fraudulent and alert Royal Mail, before writing to the identified company requesting they stop posting the items. Alongside this, Royal Mail will warn the company about its actions before cancelling its contract if it continues to post fraudulent items.
Officers from Trading Standards are holding dedicated training sessions at delivery offices across the UK to improve awareness of scam mail among postmen and women. This, it is claimed, will help posties identify what they suspect could be fraudulent mailings so that these mailings can be investigated by Trading Standards.
Posties will also be encouraged to report suspect mail to Royal Mail’s internal security team. Royal Mail will pass the information to Trading Standards so that they can investigate suspected scam mail and support potential victims. Royal Mail and Trading Standards are also encouraging people who believe they, or a family member, are receiving potentially fraudulent mail to report it.
But speaking on BBC Breakfast, Marilyn Baldwin, who founded the “Think Jessica” campaign, said the new initiative is still not enough. She set up the group after five years of struggling to find help for her mother who became adicted to scam mail.
She said: “Some victims are getting up to 100 scam letters a day. But concerned relatives are powerless to act unless they have the power of attorney.”
Royal Mail director of group security Tony Marsh insisted the postal operator cannot prevent the mailshots being delivered, as it is legally obliged to put all mail through the letterbox.
He added: “We very much understand the upset and anxiety that scam mail can cause, in particular to vulnerable people and their families. This new initiative with the National Trading Standards Scams Team will help us to better identify scam mail to stop it entering our postal network.”
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