thousands of pieces of mail from a West Yorkshire based mailing box have been seized by Trading Standards officers.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards had been alerted when the owner of the business centre, whose services involve the provision of mailboxes, raised his concerns that it might be a prize draw scam.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service seized more than 4,000 pieces of mail and identified over 3,600 victims. Over £3,230 cash was also discovered in the envelopes.
The correspondence also included bank details that had been given in order to pay for fictitious administration fees to release winnings that will not materialise.
The National Scams Team is now in the process of returning the monies to victims with the assistance of local Trading Standards Departments across the country.
Councillor Ros Lund, chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee, which oversees the work of Trading Standards, said: “The mail collected via the National Scams Team is just the tip of the iceberg as we know that many residents don’t come forward and tell us about the problems they are facing.
“This could be due to embarrassment, fear of repercussions or simply because they don’t realise that they are being targeted.”
David Lodge, head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: “We are very pleased with the efforts of the West Yorkshire business centre to notify the Service of this scam.
“We are aware that many victims who respond to scams often will not tell family, friends or neighbours.
He added: “It can be very difficult to persuade someone who is responding to junk mail on a regular basis that it is not genuine and that the prizes and lotteries do not exist.”