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Clamp down on scamsters with Medway's Scamnesty drive

Date: 04/02/2011           Category: Trading standards

A nationwide Scamnesty campaign against the scourge of mass marketed scam mailings will take place in Medway this month.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) annual Scams Awareness Month calls for people to bin their scam mail and show scammers they have not been tricked.

Nearly half of the UK adult population has been targeted by a scam and 3.2million adults – one in 15 people – across the country fall victim every year.

Scams can involve deceptive unsolicited mailings, phone calls, or emails designed to con victims out of their cash.

UK consumers lose a staggering £3.5 billion to scams every year.

‘Scamnesty 2011’ calls on people in Medway to fight back against fraudsters by collecting scam mailings they receive and dropping them into designated ‘Scamnesty’ bins located at the following points until Monday 28th February:

-Sainsbury’s, Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre. (until 14th February)
-Age Concern Chatham, Hopewell Centre, Chatham
-Age Concern, Gillingham, Mackenney Centre, Woodlands Road, Gillingham
-Strood Contact Point, Annex B, Civic Centre, Strood
-Age Concern, Rochester, Chris Ellis Centre, 130 Brompton Lane, Rochester;
-Strood Library, Bryant Road, Strood.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Enforcement Cllr Mike O’brien said: “We have all received colourful letters promising that we have won a prize, or making a seemingly irresistible offer if we send money to an organisation. The advice is if it seems to good to be true, it usually is.

“Less than five per cent of victims report scams to the authorities, usually because they are embarrassed.

“I would ask everyone who has been a victim to contact Medway Trading Standards with details of any scam mailings they receive. This will help prevent people becoming a victim of this illegal trade.”

The top five complaints to Consumer Direct, the OFT-managed consumer advice service, are: 1) Advance fee and money transfer, 2) Prize draws and sweepstakes, 3) Ticketing, 4) Foreign lotteries, and 5) Career opportunities.

If you think you have been the victim of a scam, or you suspect a scam, call Consumer Direct for clear, practical advice on 08454 04 05 06 or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/scams

Consumers can report all types of scams at www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/reportascam