Guidance and tips to prevent falling foul of scammers

Trading Standards Service is committed to helping residents protect themselves from scams. Scam mail and scam telephone calls can be cleverly worded to make people believe that the correspondence or caller is genuine. Elderly and vulnerable people are particularly likely to receive scam mail and scam telephone calls trying to get them to part with their money or hand over their bank details.

All over the country, including Surrey and Buckinghamshire, thousands of letters arrive through the letter box claiming that 'you have won' or 'only you are eligible for this special offer...'

The scammers try to make the letters look like they are important documents, hoping to trick the recipient into sending them money or disclose personal information about themselves or family members.

Scammers will use every trick in the book to get you to part with your cash including:

  • You have won a lottery, sweepstake or competition... but you have to send money
  • Money you have won is being held in a holding company... but you have to send money
  • Somebody has left you an inheritance... but you have to send money
  • A clairvoyant can stop bad luck or direct good luck towards you... but you have to send money
  • There is a "secret" deal which will make you rich... but you have to send money

So you see the common theme – scam mail is a serious and endemic problem, causing financial and mental devastation to millions.

Think Jessica

Think Jessica aims to raise the public's awareness to the extent of the criminal mail problem in the U.K. £3.5 billion is estimated as being lost to scams each year.

Scam stickers

Trading Standards Service has produced a new set of stickers to remind people, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, not to give out their bank details over the phone, think twice about writing out a cheque in response to a mailing or clicking links in emails that they aren't expecting.

The pack contains further information about scams, stickers for telephone handsets, stickers to stick on the front of cheque books and smaller stickers designed for computers and tablets.

You can request a pack by emailing us at:

If you would like to report scam mail or know someone that has been a victim of scam mail, please contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Become a Scam Marshal

A Scam Marshal is any resident in the UK who has been targeted by a scam and now wants to fight back and take a stand against scams. Scam Marshals do this by sharing their own experiences, helping others to report and recognise scams and sending any scam mail that they receive to the National Trading Standards Scams Team so that it can be utilised as evidence in future investigative and enforcement work. This work by Scam Marshals plays a huge role in helping to stop the scam mail altogether.

You can find out more and sign up on the Scam Marshal website.

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