Consumer: Leeds scheme to stamp out mail scammers

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A new scheme has been launched in Leeds to help prevent vulnerable people falling victim to scam mail schemes.

Royal Mail and Trading Standards have teamed up to help train postal workers across West Yorkshire.

Training is being delivered by The SAFER Project, a West Yorkshire Trading Standards project funded by the Big Lottery.

Staff at the Harehills delivery office were among the first to receive the training package with the Tong and Whitwood offices soon to follow.

Since 2010 Royal Mail Group Security has been working with a variety of organisations to reduce the impact of mass marketing mail sent by fraudsters.

The initiative has been set up to combat scam mail by encouraging postmen and women to report those addresses that receive high numbers of suspect mail to Royal Mail’s internal security team.

Royal Mail will pass the information, with consent, to partner agencies such as Trading Standards, Adult Protection, West Yorkshire Police and Victim Support.

The most appropriate agency can then investigate the suspected scam mail and support potential victims.

Only eight per cent of victims do report the scams and 72 per cent will not tell family or friends about it, usually through fear of embarrassment.

The Scams and Fraud Education for Residents (SAFER) Project is a three year Big Lottery Funded community engagement initiative and focuses specifically on educating older adults who are at most risk of being targeted by such scams.

Workshops and training for partner agencies are taking place all across West Yorkshire with the aim of reducing the number of victims and increasing confidence.

Over the last two years The SAFER Project has worked with many scam mail victims including a Leeds resident responding and sending money to over 20 pieces of post a day and a Wakefield resident sending cash to a non-existent ‘Spanish lottery’ earning the scammers a huge £165,000!

Coun Bill Urry of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee said: “The partnership between Royal Mail and Trading Standards on a national level is an amazing opportunity.

“It also means that on a local level we can make a difference to people who may be swamped by this kind of mail and offer them support and advice when they need it most.”

David Lodge, head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, added: “Until now victims of mass marketing may have gone unnoticed and unsupported and this link gives us eyes and ears on the ground.”

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