Guest blog: Raising awareness of postal fraud


Guest blog: Raising awareness of postal fraud

Marilyn Baldwin OBE, Founder of Think Jessica, recounts how she came to care about postal scams and explains how consumers can be scam aware.

Blog Author Image
Marilyn Baldwin OBE
Founder of Think Jessica
Blog

19 July 2016

Unopened letters

"My mum received around 30,000 letters from scammers in total."

 

In 2007 I started the Think Jessica campaign to raise awareness of postal and telephone fraud following the death of my mother Jessica who was 83.

Sadly, in 2002 my mum responded to a scam letter which resulted in her details being added to a criminal ‘suckers list’ which was circulated to organised criminal gangs worldwide. Over a five year period she had not only been repeatedly targeted she had also been ‘groomed’ by criminals into ignoring anyone who tried to help her see the truth.

This was a very difficult time for my family; because my mother refused to cooperate we were unable to intervene or find any professional help. We couldn’t even find anyone who understood how powerful the psychology is behind these types of crimes.

My mum received around 30,000 letters from scammers in total.

The National Trading Standards Scams Team are doing a brilliant job and estimate postal fraud alone could be costing consumers up to £3.5 billion a year. I believe this figure is only the tip of the iceberg as more and more relatives of victims contact Think Jessica (now a registered charity) with heart breaking stories of parents, grandparents, friends and neighbours who are trapped in the scammers evil web of deceit. Stories of financial ruin, declining health, families being torn apart and suicide are too common.

Bogus lottery officials, fake bankers, prize holding companies, clairvoyants and numerous other characters work together to create a fictional world that can become a vulnerable person’s reality.

Think Jessica’s main focus now is on getting material out to those who don’t have internet access or any way of being educated about scams. Trading Standards, the police, Neighbourhood Watch, Hospitals, care assistants and other organisations nationally distribute our ‘Watch out for Scams’ booklets.

There’s a long way to go but together we are stronger- consumer groups and banks need to create a hostile environment which will deter those without conscience who are preying on those least able to defend themselves. 

Posted In

Blog

Related articles

Guest blog: Protecting yourself from online scams

In our second guest blog for Scams Awareness Month Tim Mitchell from Get Safe Online explains how banks and consumer groups work together to keep customers safe.

Guest blog: How to spot scams

In the first of a series of guest blogs to mark Scams Awareness Month, Laura Jamieson, Policy and Improvement Manager at the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, writes here on the type of phone scams that exist and what consumers can do about them.

Latest news

Royal Bank of Scotland hosts ‘Easy Wins Live’ event

The event explored today’s ‘always on’ world and the pressure Scots face as they struggle to balance life inside and outside of work.

To win the fight against fraud and scams, it is vital to educate young people.

Primary school children in Currie, Edinburgh put on their detective hats last week to learn more about fraud and scams thanks to the Royal Bank of Scotland MoneySense programme. Les Matheson, CEO of Personal Banking, tells us why it’s so important to financially educate young people.

New NatWest debit cards now accessible for all customers

New card features are being rolled out from today with all cards having a notch and raised dots.

Set Tab for lightbox