Residents across the Fylde coast are being urged not to become an easy target for fraudsters – with junk mail proving a growing issue in the town.
Blackpool Council and the Citizens Advice Bureau are warning residents to be on their guard against fraudsters employing ever more ingenious methods to con them out of cash.
Coun Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council cabinet member with responsibility for public protection, said scam mail is a serious issue for residents – but there are options available to avoid becoming a soft target.
She added: “Junk mail is not only a pest, it can also take hard earned cash out of people’s pockets. We would urge people to remember that if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
“Additionally, many people are aware of and use the Telephone Preference Service but may not be aware of the Mailing Preference Service.
“This can help cut down the amount of unwanted mail you receive and may be a worthwhile option for people to consider.”
Scam mail, as it is known, is more than just junk mail.
At best it is misleading, at worst it is completely bogus, with false claims, threats and demands for cash.
The national “Think Jessica” campaign was the first to highlight the dangers of junk mail.
For five years Jessica was hounded by scammers, asking her for cash, predicting her future and making promises of lottery wins and successful prize draws.
It all started with Reader’s Digest, which passed her details on to third parties.
By the time she died, Jessica was receiving 30 letters a day, and it is estimated Royal Mail had delivered a total of 30,000 letters.
All it takes is one response to one letter or catalogue and that person’s details can then be sold on to others for them to target in the same way.
In many cases the correspondence can become more threatening or misleading.
This process is commonly referred to as a ‘suckers list’.
Blackpool Council’s Trading Standards advice team say they see this phenomenon with alarming regularity.
In one recent case, 10 bin liners of letters were found in a person’s house along with boxes of unsolicited goods which had to be removed as they were posing a fire risk.
Anyone wishing to sign up to the free Mailing Preference Service can do so online at www.mpsonline.org.uk or call 0845 7034599 to be sent forms.