Pensioners in Leamington have fallen victim to mail scams that have cost them thousands of pounds.
Warwickshire Trading Standards has said it is aware of many scam mail victims, some of whom have lost thousands to bogus clairvoyants and scam lotteries.
One elderly Leamington resident was sending money to so many scam mail fraudsters that she could not afford to pay her utility bills and fell into debt.
She was constantly promised big prize pay-outs, but this was really a ruse to sell her cheap ornaments and other products she did not really want or need.
Another Leamington resident paid out over £12,000 in the course of a year and was sending between £500 and £1000 each month to receive her ‘prizes’.
She had received scam letters from the USA and Australia, telling her she had won large prizes in lotteries and prize draws.
Warwickshire county councillor Howard Roberts, portfolio holder for community safety, said: “We’ve all seen them, envelopes stamped ‘Euro Lottery Winner’, ‘Official Government Award’ or ‘Good Luck Inside’ and most of us will immediately consign them to the recycling bin.
“Unfortunately though, some people do respond, sending money, cheques and in some cases their bank account numbers and PINS.
“These people are then drawn in to the scam, paying out ever more money in the hope of receiving a pay-out that will never come.
“In Warwickshire, our trading standards officers are working locally with Royal Mail postal workers and nationally with the National Scams Team to identify and support these victims, intercepting their letters and returning their money.”
People can stay up to date with the latest scam warnings by signing up to the free trading standards email alert service at: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/scams or follow WarksTSS on twitter.