Scamwatch: post fraud

Your mail can prove very lucrative for fraudsters...

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Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

This week, we explain how fraudsters are targeting apartment blocks to get their hands on tenants' mail.

How does it work?

Many apartment blocks have mailboxes in the communal areas. And in lots of cases, these mailboxes are not locked - making them easy targets for fraudsters keen to get their hands on people's bank details, for example.

In one recent scam, a criminal gang even started renting flats in affluent blocks to have more time to go through other tenants' mail. The gang is thought to have netted about £300,000 before being caught.

How can I avoid being caught out?

If you live in an apartment block - or even if you don't - it is sensible to ensure your mail is left in a secure place.

Depending on the type of mailbox you have, you can do this either by fitting it with a lock or by petitioning for secure mailboxes to be provided for all tenants.

It is also a good idea to report anyone acting suspiciously to the caretaker or managing agent.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?

If you think someone has stolen your mail to defraud you, the first thing to do is to contact your bank so that it can secure your accounts as quickly as possible.

If you have noticed the fraud after money has been taken, you should also call your bank or card provider immediately, and report the crime to the police via Action Fraud (0300 123 2040).

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