MP leads fight on scam mail crack down

Some of the items the victim was scammed into buying. (s)
Some of the items the victim was scammed into buying. (s)

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans is appealing victims of scam mail to come forward in order to present local evidence to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, to ask her what action is being taken.

Mr Evans was prompted to investigate the issue after a local constituent made him aware of how her mother had been forced to leave her home by scammers.

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans is supporting a campaign to ban the death penalty worldwide

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans is supporting a campaign to ban the death penalty worldwide

The former Clitheroe woman, who was living in sheltered accommodation at the time, was sent around 10 to 12 letters a day by rogue companies, offering her the chance to win huge sums of money if she placed orders with them.

The elderly lady’s daughter explained how her frail mother was relentless targeted by these unscrupulous scammers.

“She used to ring me up and say how she had won £44,000,” the daughter said. “She didn’t understand that these people were not genuine and were trying to scam her.

“When we decided she needed to move away and be removed from this abuse we discovered bags full of watches and face cream as well as an outside bin full of plant bulbs that she must’ve spent thousands on.

“These scammers are targeting people living in sheltered accommodation - to them they are easy pickings. Billions of pounds is being lost to these scammers each year and nothing is being done about it when really it’s no different from a burglar going into their home and robbing them in broad daylight.”

After trying to sort out the problem for several years, the victim was eventually moved into residential care for her own safety, too vulnerable to live alone and risk falling prey to the mail scam once more.

“I was shown some of the items that her mother had bought, body creams and key rings – just a selection of products that cost upwards of £30,” Mr Evans explained to the Clitheroe Advertiser this week.

“Sadly, there are many elderly people being targeted by these companies.

“I know from my time as the chair of the All-Party Identity Fraud Group that elderly people are the demographic most likely to be struck by fraudsters, and it is important that action is taken to prevent this.”

In order to create a case to present to the Home Secretary and Trading Standards, people who have been affected by scammers are being asked to call Mr Evans’ office on 01200 425 939.

Alternatively, people can email Mr Evans at: evansn@parliament.uk and share their stories of scam mail.

Postal scams are letters sent with the sole intention of obtaining money through deception or fraud.

There are many different types of scam mail, such as fake lotteries and prize draws, get-rich-quick schemes, bogus health cures, investment scams and pyramid selling.

Although there is plenty of advice out there on how to avoid scammers, as the victim’s daughter in this report explains, a situation can prove difficult to sort out if the elderly person involved does not realise they are being scammed.

“The problem needs to be dealt with at the source,” the victim’s daughter explained. “A lot of this scam mail is sent by companies outside of the UK and we need to looking at stopping that at source.”

She added that it is really difficult to remove an elderly person’s name from mailing lists once they sign up. In the end she was forced to close her mother’s bank accounts to prevent standing orders being paid.

“It has taken almost two years to sort out my mother’s affairs. Action needs to be taken before things get to this stage,” she said. “I would urge people to check that their relatives are not being preyed on like my mother was.”