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4 February 2010, 05:53 | Updated: 4 February 2010, 06:21
Have you ever opened a letter saying you've won thousands of pounds, but have to first send off cash to claim your prize?
Well over 3 million people fall foul to these types of scams every year, and now people in Luton can put a stop to it.
The Borough Council has signed up to the nationwide "Scamnesty" campaign, which aims to help end the scourge of mass marketed scam mailings in the UK.
Nearly half of the UK adult population has been targeted by a scam. Each year one in 15 people across the country fall victim to a scam involving deceptive unsolicited mailings, phone calls, or emails, which are designed to con victims out of their cash. UK consumers lose around a staggering £3.5 billion to scams every year.
Through "Scamnesty 2010" the council is calling on residents to fight back against the fraudsters by collecting any scam mailings they receive and dropping them into designated Scamnesy" bins located at Luton Borough Council.
Last year the campaign revealed that the top five mass-marketed scam mailings in the UK at that time were:
2.Misleading prize draws,
4.Bogus foreign lotteries,
5.'Miracle' health cures
Steven Dibble is the Team Leader of Consumer Standards Team for Luton Borough Council trading Standard team. He told Heart:
"You'll quite often get letters with claims and promises of what you can gain from it but in order to tell you how to gain from it you end of having to send off money to get information and that’s when we start telling people to think twice. There are some people who live in a situation where they may be on the verge of losing their home and they get a letter through saying they have won a large sum of money, they're so desperate that they will actually send off MORE money to try to get themselves out of the position they are in. people need to make sure that they don’t send money off and get ripped off - that’s the key message."
If you think you have been the victim of scam or need any help and advice, call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/scamnesty.