SPOTTING MAIL SCAMS
- If you’ve been told you’ve won something in a raffle, prize draw, or competition, think about whether you actually entered. If you didn’t, you can be sure it’s a scam. Bin it!
- If you are asked to pay a fee up-front in order to receive your winnings/prize/etc. it’s a scam. Legitimate organisations will never ask you to do this. Bin it!
- Does the letter contain bad spelling or grammar? If so, it’s a scam. Bin it!
- There are also certain letter styles that are commonly used in competition or lottery scam mail. If you receive a letter with one or more of these on, and claiming you’ve won a prize draw or lottery you never entered, it’s a scam. Bin it!:
- Coats of arms
- Serial numbers
- Reproduced signatures
- Rubber stamps
- Have you received the letter or catalogue out of the blue, without ever asking for it or even making contact with the company? If so, it’s probably a scam. Bin it!
- Are they asking you for money? Always start from the position that any request for money is suspicious unless proven otherwise. Don’t send any money!
PROTECTION AGAINST MAIL SCAMS
- Sign up for the Mailing Preference Service: If you are being bombarded with large amounts of mail, it’s a good idea to sign up to the Mailing Preference Service (MPS). This will stop UK organisations that are members of the Direct Marketing Association from sending you personally addressed mail unless you have expressly given those companies permission to do so. However, as most scammers are unlikely to be members of the DMA, it won’t stop scam mail getting through – but if you know you are registered with the MPS and ought not to be receiving any unsolicited letters or catalogues, you should be immediately suspicious of any that do arrive. You can register online for the Mailing Preference Service at www.mpsonline.org.uk or by phoning 020 7291 3310 or 0845 703 4599.
WARNING: Beware of people calling you on the phone claiming to be from the Mailing Preference Service asking for payment to complete your registration – this is itself a scam!
- Sign up for the Royal Mail opt-out service: You can also opt-out of Royal Mail Door to Door. This stops all unaddressed mail, such as post that says ‘The Occupier’ or ‘The Householder’, being delivered to your home via Royal Mail deliveries. Send your name and address to Freepost, Royal Mail Customer Services or email your name and address to email@example.com.
Have your mail redirected to someone you trust: A relative or trusted friend can filter it for you and only pass on the genuine items.