Residents in the Bradford district are being encouraged to take a stand over junk mail scams which can leave victims facing financial ruin.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards Unit has started a campaign against scam mail, which is designed to lure victims into handing over money in the hope they will receive a massive windfall as a result.
The promised payments never materialise, however.
The ‘Spot it? Bin it!’ campaign involves moving large yellow bins around community locations in the Bradford area, so residents can easily get rid of junk mail.
The post will be analysed for information which may be of use in Trading Standards investigations but all items will be destroyed so any personal information on unsolicited mail will not be open to misuse.
The campaign will see bins at Clayton Village Hall, Bradford, and at North Dean House, an Incommunities sheltered housing unit in North Dean Avenue, Keighley, until June 10.
David Lodge, head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said “Junk mail and bogus charity collections can be a real detriment to the lives of older people, causing worry and financial harm.
“This campaign is intended to relieve the burden of the nuisance post people receive and to encourage residents to ‘spot it’ and ‘bin it’! If know older people who are being pestered by junk mail and bogus charity collections, please advise them not to respond, and please tell them of this service.”
The campaign is part of the Safer Project which has already addressed many older people through a series of community workshops.
Staff involved have found victims have received up to 100 pieces of scam mail each week, in some cases leading to severe financial problems and also affecting the health of those who have fallen victim.
One of the most obvious forms of scam mail is bogus lottery wins, where potential victims are duped with the lure of an easy payout, but others include rogue charity bags, fake holidays and ‘miracle’ health cures.
The campaign will continue until August.
Residents can also register with the Mail Preference Service to help reduce unsolicited mail. Telephone 0845 7034599.
e-mail: paul.whitehouse