Scams: mass market fraud

Commonly known as ‘Scams’, these Frauds target the unwary and arrive in the form of unsolicited e-mail, letters or telephone calls.

They involve lotteries, prizes, awards, miracle cures, clairvoyants, romance and other promises of good fortune.

The recipient will reply, whether directly through telephone, by post or e-mail and will be invited to send money, often to assist in the administration of the release of the winnings.

  • Big winnings do not exist. Occasionally items of little value will be sent as prizes.
  • They are fraud and an attempt to elicit money from unsuspecting victims.
  • As the winnings on offer are substantial, so too can are the advance fees required to release the funds.

The cruel part of the scam is that suspects build up a rapport with victims to continue the flow of money.

Who are the victims?

Anyone can be a victim.

  • e-mails are sent to huge numbers of people and anyone can become a potential victim.
  • Letters are more specific and in many cases the elderly are most at risk.
  • The victim may respond and after sending a fee to the fraudsters may have telephone contact.
  • The fraudsters will gain the confidence of the victim, hence where the elderly are most at risk.

Communications are often sent to accommodation addresses. These are then collected by couriers or third parties and sent on to the fraudsters.

  • Payments are made through cheques, credit / debit card transactions or through sending cash via money transfer services.
  • Cheques can be cleared through international clearing services and the money will go through a series of further transactions before finally arriving in the pockets of the fraudsters.

What to do in the event of receiving an unsolicited communication:

If you receive these communications do not reply to them. If you are a victim of this fraud, report it!

(Source: Met Police)


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