A report by Dianne Oxberry aired on BBC Inside Out North West programme last night highlighted the extent of postal scamming affecting vulnerable people, and the elderly in particular, across the UK. An estimated £10 billion per year is being paid out by people believing they are going to get good fortune or win a prize in return. In reality this, of course, never happens.
Our friend, Marilyn Baldwin, founder of Think Jessica with whom we have created our Senior Fraud campaign, was interviewed by Dianne and said:
“Postal companies make a great deal of money from delivering this kind of mail and it definitely should be payback time now. They need to take more action to make sure that vulnerable people are protected.”
There was some good news announced in that the Royal Mail and Trading Standards are launching a joint initiative to train postal staff, those actually delivering the mail, to identify scam victims, people who are clearly being targeted with high volumes of mail. They will then report their suspicions to the National Trading Standards Scam Team and action will be taken to try and help the victims.
However, the spokesman from the Royal Mail pointed out that it was a fine line between the mail that they legally had to deliver and mail that could be stopped. He said that in practice it was difficult to do.
Marilyn thinks that Royal Mail needs to go much further because victims of scamming have often been brainwashed by it and don’t see the problem as it is, she says victims have what she calls ‘Jessica Scam Syndrome’. She explains:
“I know that many victims will be reluctant to co-operate, they are convinced it is genuine. The solution has to be to identify victims and then protect them properly, not just leave them to deal with it themselves.”
Here at Home Instead we will continue to work alongside Think Jessica to educate and help our clients, their families and the local community, telling them what to look out for from potential scammers and how to deal with it. We are working hard to spread the word by delivering more and more scam awareness workshops and signposting people to the Senior Fraud Toolkit at our website.