A VULNERABLE Clitheroe pensioner conned out of hundreds of pounds by persistent fraudsters has been highlighted in a new Lancashire anti-scams campaign.
The 76-year-old with mental health problems received hundreds of letters promising him lottery wins and good luck from fortune tellers if he sent cash, before his son Martin intervened.
His story was released by Lancashire County Council Trading Standards service as they take the fight to the fraudsters.
They launched the campaign for ‘National Scams Awareness Month’.
It will reveal the methods used to con the Lancashire public, focusing weekly on online scams, postal cheats, phone cons and doorstep rip-offs.
In 2013, victims of scams included former Burnley MP Peter Pike.
His personal email account was hacked by criminals seeking cash, claiming he had been mugged in France.
Another was Padiham dad Raymond Ince, who was left £350 out of pocket by scammers who approached him after he applied for a £1,500 loan from a legitimate company to move house with his wife and two children.
Martin said: “When I finally got my a dad to admit what was happening, I collected three sacks of mail from these scammers.
“The promised him a lottery win if he sent a small administration fee.
“Or they came from a clairvoyant promising him good luck if sent money for a charm.
“They must have taken hundreds of pounds from him, possibly more. He’s not well and this could have tipped him over.
“They are wicked, evil predators on the vulnerable.”
County public protection boss Janice Hanson revealed research which estimates the real cost to Lancashire residents of scams, often unreported, at £64m annually with 76,000 victims every year.
Citizen’s Advice Bureaux workers will liaise with Trading Standards officers to visit groups to offer information.
The campaign is divided into four weekly sections: l Online Scams beginning this week; l Mail Scams from May 12; l Telephone Scams from May 19; l Doorstep Scams from May 26 Councillor Hanson said: “Anyone can fall foul of a scam and thousands lose money or are conned out of their personal details every year in Lancashire alone.
“With some losing huge amounts.”