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Office of Fair Trading launches Interactive Scams Guides

ConsumerWatch / Scams Jun 16, 2007 - 02:55 AM GMT

By: Submissions

ConsumerWatch The OFT is today launching a series of interactive scams guides designed to help people avoid being tricked into losing money. The guides expose the clever tactics used by scammers and are the OFT's latest tool in the fight against the scams that cost UK consumers £3.5 billion every year.


There are three interactive guides available – a 'prize draw scam mailing', a 'bogus lottery mailing' and a 'fake clairvoyant mailing', all similar to the type that drop onto the doormats of thousands of people across the UK every day. Each guide contains 'pop-up' text highlighting the tricks used by the scammers to convince people that the letters are genuine. For example, clairvoyant mailings use the recipient's name over and over again, and include printed sections that look like they have been hand-written, when in fact the exact same letter will have been sent to thousands of other people at the same time.

Recent research conducted by the OFT indicates that foreign lottery, prize draw and clairvoyant scams cost consumers more than £350 million every year, with individuals being targeted repeatedly and sometimes losing tens of thousands of pounds. People receiving unsolicited mail that they suspect may be part of a scam can check it for the kinds of tricks explained in the OFT guides before responding, and others who suspect that relatives or friends are at risk can show them examples of what to watch out for.

Christine Wade, Assistant Chief Executive, Consumer Advice and Trading Standards, said:

'Lottery, prize draw and clairvoyant scams can cause untold hurt and harm to the people who are deceived into responding. These guides show people the tricks that scammers regularly use and make it easier for people to protect themselves against scams.'

The interactive guides can be found in the scams area of this site. Consumers who are unsure about unsolicited mailings that they have received should contact Consumer Direct for clear, practical advice on 08454 04 05 06 or visit the Consumer Direct website before they part with any money.

NOTES

1. Mass marketed Scams are an OFT priority. Two years ago the OFT launched a Scambusters team and set up the Scams Enforcement Group with UK partner organisations focusing on law enforcement, consumer education and cooperation with public and private sector bodies to disrupt scammers' routes to market.

2. Recent research commissioned by the OFT involving 11,200 interviews found that 3.2 million UK consumers fall victim to scams every year losing £3.5 billion (an average of around £70 per adult, per annum).

3. Consumer Direct is a telephone and online consumer advice service funded by government and managed by the Office of Fair Trading. It offers clear, practical and impartial advice and information about consumer rights.

By http://www.oft.gov.uk


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Comments

Robert
24 Aug 07, 08:51
Scams

Greed is the only way people get scammed they think they won something while paying in nothing, a lot even know they are being scammed yet accept they might have won, one lady said yes it might be a scam but then again it might not, and she sent off money.

People like this are always going to be done and even when they are done once they fall for it again.


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