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OFT Releases Results of 'Scamnesty'

Around £3.5 billion is being defrauded from Britons by email, phone and letter con artists each year, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced.The report, released yesterday, shows that a total of three million people are falling victim to the fraudsters - but that just five per cent alert the authorities to the scams. As part of the study, the OFT also released the results of its February campaign, which asked consumers to send in examples of rip-offs they had received by text, email or letter.Included in the haul, which encompassed a total of 15,000 mailings, were faked prize draws, "miracle" (and expensive) cures for illnesses and pretend lotteries, which usually claimed to originate from abroad. The results of this "scamnesty" have been passed on to local trading standards bodies.Scam "hotspots" were found to be in Derbyshire, Edinburgh, Brighton and Hove, Hampshire and Norfolk, which all reported over 1,000 different scam mailings each.Mike Haley, director of consumer protection at the OFT, commented: "The huge range of mailings uncovered by the Scamnesty campaign illustrate that there really is a scam for everyone. This campaign has provided crucial intelligence, helping us to stop scams bringing misery to millions of people every year."

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