In recent weeks 15 mail items posted in Moray responding to scammers were intercepted by a national scams team as part of a much larger seizure.
Envelopes containing cheques, postal orders or bank card details from Moray were among those intercepted – and now they have been returned to Moray Council’s Trading Standards team who will return them to the victims.
“This is the first batch of mail we have had returned to us and the total value of the orders was just over £100,” Moray Trading Standards officer Stuart Duncan said.
He added: “This is really only the tip of the iceberg and doesn’t reflect the scale of the exploitation of vulnerable victims. Nearly all the victims to whom we are returning the mail are in their 70s or older.
“The only sure way not to get caught out is to put scam mail where it belongs – in the bin – and not reply to it. If you think that a friend or family member has been the victim of a scam, please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.”
Bogus prize draws where the mode used by the majority of the scams intercepted. There are an additional 30 householders in Moray who will be contacted as part of the joint initiative set up last year by Royal Mail and trading standards nationally, in which postal staff were encouraged to be alert for residents they suspected were the victims of scam mail.
Staff are asked to look out for frequent or unusual deliveries to residential addresses and to inform their managers if they suspect the deliveries are scam-related. Potential victims identified in this way are contacted by trading standards to provide the appropriate advice and assistance.
Mr Duncan said: “One elderly man we have been assisting paid out more than £400 in one month alone in scams.
“We don’t know how long he has been replying to scam mail but we believe it is around five years.”