Scams can cost credulous residents dearly

Fraudulent letters, telephone calls and emails have become commonplace

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A number of Chiswick residents have complained to the Trading Standards Authority after receiving a card through their letterbox advising them to call Parcel Delivery Services regarding a delivery of a digital camera.

The call, which is actually made to Studio Telecom, is to an 0900 number which costs £1.50 for up to 6 minutes.

One resident told "I have logged a complaint with ICSTIS, and confirmed with Wrexham Trading Standards department (where the company operates from).  The latter have confirmed that this is a
scam which they are in the process of issuing a press release about them."

Great numbers of people have also been fooled by automated telephone calls inviting "winners" to claim prizes by dialling premium rate numbers.

In a recent survey by Which? Magazine, over a third of interviewees had received such a call with direct mail scams being the second most common type.

Letters and emails have been sent telling victims they have won an international lottery - even if they hadn't entered and in certain cases victims are charged a fee to release their "winnings".

Which? editor Malcolm Coles warned members of the public to be on guard for potential cons. "The con artists who run these scams are experts in fooling people into parting with their money. Unfortunately, it's rare to get something for nothing - if it sounds too good to be true it probably is," he said.

January 6, 2006