September 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, August 21, 2014
A so-called ‘suckers list’ including almost 3,000 people in Essex who fall for scams is just the tip of the iceberg, a county councillor has warned.
The document, which includes names and addresses of potentially vulnerable victims, was passed to the county’s Trading Standards team by officers in another county.
It was found in a PO Box used by known scammers and is thought to be passed around between con artists.
The full list covers various areas throughout the country. Around 2,700 of the names are of people living in Essex, with more than a third of them residing in the north of the county.
As well as the list, Trading Standards was given about 200 completed forms for prize draws and offers for sweets returned to scammers with cheques, cash, postal orders, stamps and credit card details – along with security codes – included.
Roger Walters, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for Trading Standards, yesterday issued a stark warning about filling in forms which ask for personal details.
Mr Walters said: “Unfortunately we know that this list is just the tip of the iceberg. Residents who respond to scams often will not tell family, friends or neighbours. This is partly because it almost becomes an obsession.
“It is difficult to persuade someone who has been responding for years that the prize draw, the scam lottery, the “today-only” offer, the vouchers, the promise of a holiday or whatever else is not real.
“Residents should never respond to mailings relating to prize draws, lotteries, or other products or services which requests personal information, or money for administration fees.”
Essex Trading Standards is now in the process of contact the people on the ‘suckers list’ to warn them about scams and how they can avoid them.
This advice will also be passed on to the people whose details were found on the completed entry forms – along with their money.
Those contacted will have the chance to speak to someone at Trading Standards while anyone concerned they may have responded to a scam or is worried about a friend or relative is advised to call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 040506.