Campaign launched to help to report the scammers

Contributed by editor on Feb 02, 2009 - 12:00 PM


Neighbourhood Watch has issued the following information:-

Scamnesty 09 will take place between the 2nd and 15th

Kent Trading Standards, together with 81 other local authorities are taking
part in the Office of Fair Trading's (OFT) nationwide Scamnesty campaign again
this year.

We are asking for members of the public to drop their scam mail in bins and bags
placed around the county.

It is estimated by the OFT that scams cost the UK £3.5 billion per year. This
equates to an estimate that more than £80 million is lost to Kent residents.

This is just the financial cost. The effect of the scams on victims and their
families is something we cannot price. The victims sometimes become 'addicted'
to the mail and will sometimes trust the lies of the scammer over the advice
given by their families or other agencies. The victims are promised a non
existent prize and are skilfully persuaded by the scammer to part with more and
more money so their prize can be released, to cover legal fees, customs duties
etc. etc.

The victims will often receive letters from clairvoyants with the scam mail that
reinforce the messages given by the criminal.

We cannot always know the extent of the loss but in the past year we have come
across scam victims who have certainly given many thousands of pounds to the
scammers - certainly into tens of thousands and in at least one case it is
likely to be a 6 figure sum.

To find out more about the operation of the scam and to see the effect on
victims and their carers, friends and relatives visit

The OFT use the Scamnesty to gather information about the type and number of
scams in circulation, and they can then use this to help stop the worst

This year we are attempting to target areas of Kent where the victims are likely
to live. Scamnesty bins will be at the following locations - subject to final
confirmation - Hythe Library, Folkestone Library and Waitrose in Hythe.

Scam mail will also be collected at all other libraries in Scamnesty bags and
can be handed to your KCC Warden.

Last year a number of people forwarded scam mail to us but expressed concern
about the name and address appearing on the letters.

If they wish to, the most effective way of removing the name and address is to
go over it with a dark permanent marker or to snip it out of the letter.

Using a permanent marker would be preferred as there is less chance of other
information from being removed.

If you want to find out more about scams and how they operate contact Consumer
Direct - 08454 040506 or visit


Sally Coleman, Parish & NHW Liaison Officer 07870 999892 

PCSO Sarah Wallace  07772 226229

Village Warden Tanya Clark 07811 271303