Scamnesty - Scam Awareness Week
29th January 2009
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Richmond launches campaign to combat scams

Richmond upon Thames Council launches "Scamnesty" - a major drive to combat fraudsters who prey on victims by post, email and phone.

The nationwide campaign from February 2 to 15 is urging the public to help in the fight against scams which cost the UK an estimated £3.5 billion a year.

The numbers of people duped by fraudsters are quite staggering - Around 3,000,000 people a year, fleeched by those promoting bogus lotteries, deceptive prize draws, miracle cures and fake psychics.

Cllr Martin Elengorn, Cabinet Member for Environment on Richmond upon Thames Council, said:

"These scam letters and emails are often extremely persuasive and tempting but everyone should be on their guard to avoid being drawn in and fleeced. Some victims lose thousands of pounds to these unscrupulous criminals.

"I would recommend anyone who has any letters or emails from suspicious sources to add it to the evidence being collected so these fraudsters can be traced and stopped.

"The fact that many of these scams are operated from a great distance away - in many cases from abroad - makes it particularly difficult. By being aware and not responding to them, people can go some way to stopping them.

"If something looks too good to be true - it probably is."

Many of these scams are sent by post, as well as by email or over the phone, and cause particular harm to the old and vulnerable. However, research shows that fewer than 5% of victims report the scam to the authorities.

As part of Scams Awareness Month residents are being urged to collect any potential scam mailings they have recently received and drop them into designated Scamnesty bins at Richmond borough libraries. The designated bins are being promoted with the slogan: "Drop in and drop them in it".

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