Operation Signature is the force scam mail campaign to identify and support vulnerable victims of postal scam within Sussex.
Media launch of Operation Signature
We are carrying out a media launch on Monday 17th March 2014 to raise awareness of Operation Signature within Sussex, to publicise the recognition that victims of scam mail are victims of crime, and to encourage reporting on 101 or by email to protect potential vulnerable victims.
Criminals worldwide are sending millions of scam letters into the UK, targeting elderly, vulnerable members of our communities. An estimated 3.5 billion pounds was sent out of the UK in response to scams last year alone. At present very little is being done to identify and support these victims – Operation Signature is Sussex Police’s response to this.
For many vulnerable people, the bombardment of scam mail results in fear, severe financial difficulties and ultimately a decline in both physical and mental health. Chronic victims of scam mail are hounded by numerous criminal organisations – after replying to the first ‘tempter’ letter, victim’s names and addresses are put on a target list – these lists are then sold to other criminals all over the world.
The key signs of scam mail victims are:
- Almost always elderly, often over the age of 80
- Often lonely, socially isolated and recent bereavement can be a trigger
- Unusually high quantities of mail,
- Secretive about their mail and finances,
- Living in clutter
- Hiding mail around the house
- Denying there is a problem with scams despite evidence to the contrary
- In possession of cheap looking goods, products including, health products & toiletries, trinkets, charms and foodstuffs.
- Reluctance to involve family members in their situation
- Getting through cheque books unusually quickly
- Regularly visiting the post office and / or keeping lots of stamps
Visit the website www.actionfraud.police.uk
Operation Signature campaign team is contacted by numerous individuals and organisations to help with severe cases of scam mail.
- Relatives of victims
- Trading Standards
- Citizens Advice
- Age Concern
- Help the Aged
- Memory Clinics
- Banks/Building Societies
All the parties above have reported cases of victims who are emptying bank accounts to keep up with the demands of criminals who befriend, trick & threaten them daily.
The campaign has a number of common sense objectives.
Firstly: To raise the public’s awareness and educate professionals to the extent of the criminal mail problem in the U.K. £3.5 billion is estimated as being lost to scams each year; however, only one in five cases are reported.
Secondly: “Jessica Scam Syndrome” to be recognised as a condition and those effected separated from criminals. (Currently there is no help available from any agency or organisation other than “lip service”). As the law stands any intervention like redirection of mail or handing over power of attorney is not possible without the victim’s consent.
Postal Services act needs urgent revision.
Many JSS sufferers are socially isolated or have families who are unaware of the problem. Think Jessica research has shown that postal delivery workers can easily recognise when someone is being targeted by the increasing volume of mail victims receive or the scammers slogans on the front of the envelopes. TJ would like to see a system in place where posties could sound the alarm. All mail would still get delivered, but the “silent” victim could be provided with early professional help. TJ would also like to see the introduction of legalisation to stop scammers hiding behind a mailing address, in the UK it is easier to rent a mailing address than it is to rent a DVD!
The Fraud Act 2006 3 May 2007 – Malcolm Woolgar – Lloyd’s The UK Fraud Act 2006 (”the Act”) came into force on 15 January 2007. The Act is a clearly written piece of legislation that should facilitate the investigation and prosecution of fraud in the UK. The following provides a brief summary of the key aspects of this legislation.
According to the Act, the offence of fraud can be committed in three ways:
- False representation (section 2)
- Failing to disclose information (section 3)
- Abuse of position (section 4)
It is no longer necessary to prove that the victim was deceived: all that is required is to prove that the fraudster was dishonest in their behaviour.
View the website direct @ www.thinkjessica.com
Stop Nuisance Calls @ www.truecall.co.uk