AN 82-YEAR-OLD woman from St Leonards has been duped out of £1,500 through scam mail.
The victim contacted Sussex Police after hearing about its Operation Signature which encourages residents not to respond to scam letters.
The woman feared she had been a victim and contacted police.
Police community support officer Nigel Ball visited the victim and discovered she had received a total of 285 scam letters in a six month period.
In the past she had replied to some of the scam letters and sent £1,500. Now she no longer opens the letters and they were all taken by police for investigation.
Sergeant Dave Townsend from the Hastings neighbourhood police team said: “The letters were sent in plain white envelopes, completely innocuous.
“All of the post received was specifically addressed to the recipient by name - they did not read ‘to the occupier’.
“Most of the letters were from spurious clairvoyants with promises of winning a vast fortune on a certain date. Others were for fake lottery wins. All of the letters were written in a friendly tone and often used the lady’s name in the text to entice and draw in. It is as though the scammers are creating a veil of trust by being so familiar.
“If you fear that someone you know is being bombarded with scam letters, please do not hesitate to report this to us.
“We will visit to offer advice and reassurance to victims or potential victims. Contact us online via our website www.sussex.police.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 101.”