Royal Mail ‘making millions by aiding scammers’
Royal Mail has been accused of raking in millions of pounds by assisting conmen to target the elderly and vulnerable in fraud on a massive scale.
In an expose, the Daily Mail accuses Royal Mail of delivering fraudsters’ letters and printing their trusted brand on the envelopes the letters arrive in.
The letters are delivered as part of Royal Mail bulk delivery contracts.
Despite warnings about the scale of the con, the newspaper says Royal Mail has refused to crack down.
In a special investigation, the paper filmed the conmen laughing and sneering at their victims over a lavish dinner of oysters and champagne.
The con letters all work in the same way, promising a big gift or money in return for sending a small amount of cash to cover admin, or similar.
The paper reveals how the criminals avoid UK authorities by using mailboxes in Switzerland and the Netherlands. They then hide their money in offshore accounts.
Letters include messages from fake clairvoyants, prize-draw scams and illegal advertisements for unlicensed health remedies.
Some suggest their families are trying to harm them and they need protection money.
The findings raise serious questions for Royal Mail, the paper reports, as it has been warned for over 10 years that elderly customers are at risk.
Business minister Margot James said she would be summoning Royal Mail to demand immediate action.
She said: “Mass-marketing scams target some of the most vulnerable people in the UK and should not be tolerated.
"Elderly Britons are thought to lose up to £5.8billion a year in postal scams – with dementia sufferers often falling victim.”
One woman victim was 'brainwashed' into handing over £100,000. Often the fraud remains secret as victims are afraid or too ashamed to seek help.
Postmen told the paper they 'hated' being made to deliver the scam letters, but feared they could be sacked if the said no.
The criminals take advantage of Royal Mail's discounted bulk postage rates.
The year-long investigation by the paper traced a criminal network that makes millions in the UK in this way.
An undercover reporter went to a conference attended by the group in Canada where conmen bragged of 'reaping the profits' from 'ripping off' victims.
One French scammer said the Royal Mail's logo helped him dupe 400,000 Britons into thinking the 'Government allows' their letters.
But Royal Mail says it cannot act as it is legally obliged to deliver any addressed letter.
Marilyn Baldwin, of anti-scam charity Think Jessica, said: “It is an utter disgrace. These companies are profiting from the criminal exploitation of the elderly.”
What do you think? Should Royal Mail do more to clamp down on these scam emails?
Let us know in the comments section.
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