Scammers are operating everywhere, both online and offline but if you’ve been scammed by direct mail, we’ll give you some advice on what to do and how to prevent falling prey to it in the future. Don’t stress though – with these top tips, it is our hope that you can make those all important changes that will stop you from being scammed in the future!
What are the most popular ways that you can be scammed by direct mail?
Lottery or Prize Draw Win Scams
Scammers use direct mail to tell you that you’ve won a large sum of money in either a Lottery or Prize Draw. But, the process of claiming your ‘prize’ involves you having to phone a premium rate telephone number firstly and then they’ll request that you pay an ‘administrative’ fee in order for them to release your prize money to you. Obviously, if you can’t remember entering a draw or lottery, the chances are overwhelmingly that it will be a scam. Equally, no legitimate Lottery company will request an administration fee in any case, so you’ll be paying for the premium rate telephone call AND a bogus admin fee, with no windfall at the end of it! It can be quite commonplace to feel overwhelmed when you receive these calls, but know that you are not alone, and there are those of us that are here to help!
These scams send letters to their victims stating that they’ve got shares in a named company and inform them that that they’re coming into a big windfall as a result of share ownership. Again, like Lottery and Prize Draw scams, they’ll request that their victims phone a premium telephone number and pay an administration fee in order for the funds to be released. Before you accept what’s in the letter, you should check that you actually do own any of the shares in the said company in the first place and it’s often a good idea to contact the stated Company themselves for more information. If you don’t have the shares, then it’s almost certainly a random scam.
Psychic Contact Scams
A bogus ‘psychic’ or ‘clairvoyant’ will contact you informing you that they have a mystic message specifically for you that’s going to change your life for the better. This ‘message’ can come in the forms of impending windfalls or highly personalised messages from deceased loved ones. They’re often carried out in conjunction with other direct mail scams and are used to extract money from their victims by preying on their emotional states.
Seemingly, a long lost relative has passed away leaving you a very large sum of money in their will. However, legal fees will need to be paid in order to release the said funds. Does this sound familiar at all? Luckily, once you have identified inheritance scams and know what to listen for, they become easier to recognise in the future!
Other ‘money’ scams
There are many other forms that these heinous scammers use to make us believe they’re legitimate in order to persuade people into phoning premium rate telephone numbers or into paying for the release of bogus funds.
The objective of these scams is to entice the victim into parting with their cash. Whatever form they take, they all have the same end goal in mind.
Avoid being scammed by direct mail
However distressing these scams by direct mail are, there are some things we can do to avoid being a victim – 1/ Putting up signs on your front door alerting your postman
1. Alert your postman!
Alerting your postman to the fact that you won’t accept any junk mail is a good idea because they’ll be obliged not to push it through your door in the first place.
2. Add your name and address to the MPS
You can register your name and address with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) to advise them that you want to reduce the amount of direct mail you receive. This will deter any advertising and sales companies who use direct mail lists as a marketing vehicle from sending you their ‘junk mail’. The reason behind this is that Companies that use direct mail campaigns have to adhere to the Data and Marketing Association Code of Conduct and similar advertising regulatory bodies in the UK. For more information and registration, click here
3. Use the ‘opt out’ option on the voting register
When registering to vote, you can use the opt out option on the ‘open register’ (or ‘edited register’). Some marketing companies use the voting register to search for names and addresses in which to send junk mail, so by using the ‘opt out’ option, you can effectively ‘block’ your name from companies who use direct mail as a marketing tool. The voting register is also used very often by scammers to find potential targets. So, therefore, by opting out on the voting register, you’ll effectively reduce the amount of junk mail/scam mail you receive.
4. Report any scam mail to Scamwatch UK
This important and well respected body has a lot of relevant information on how scammers use direct mail tactics to extract money from you. You can view their website here
If you’re getting overwhelmed by load of unwanted junk mail and are suspecting that some of it looks ’spammy’, then the chances are that it probably is. If this is the case, take the steps outlined above to avoid being scammed by direct mail.
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