‘Scamnesty’ launched across Norfolk

Norfolk residents were yesterday urged to bin their scam mail as part of a crackdown on bogus lottery and prize draw con artists.

Trading standards and police officers called on people to be on their guard and to take part in a month-long 'Scamnesty' after experiencing an increase in vulnerable people falling victim to scams.

More than 80 bins will be in place across Norfolk as part of scam awareness month and people are being encouraged to add their bogus mail to the mountain of letters offering prizes and deals that are often too good to be true.

The heaps of paper collected in February will help members of the economic crime unit at Norfolk Police and county council officers to keep up with the latest cons and help prevent others from being scammed.

The launch of the campaign comes after one Norfolk resident was duped out of �119,000 after the elderly woman from north Norfolk fell victim to a Canadian Lottery scam.

Figures from the Office of Fair Trading show that almost half of UK adults are targeted by fraudsters, which costs the economy �3.5bn every year.

The scamnesty bins will be placed in all Co-operative and Rainbow food stores in Norfolk and in a number of council offices and police stations, with residents urged to fill them up with any material that they believe to be a scam.

Most Read

Teresa Haxell, trading standards officer at Norfolk County Council, said Norfolk had a high proportion of elderly people who were being targeted by scam mail.

'We have noticed that there has been an increase in people reporting them to us and we have had some quite serious cases. The aim is to raise awareness to people that there are scams out there and to encourage people to talk about it.'

'We are going to go through all the mail and it is not a waste of time. It is all intelligence gathering for us and if necessary, we will investigate,' she said.

PC Gail Kevern, of Norfolk Police, added: 'Scam letters look convincing but they are made up of false promises. They request bank details and other information which can then be used by fraudsters. We strongly advise local people in their neighbourhoods not to reply to any such letters asking for money.'

Residents wanting to report a scam, or wanting advice can call Consumer Direct on 0845 4040506 or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/scamnesty