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Victims of international postal scam to have money returned

Posted on: 18 November 2022

The Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service will be returning thousands of pounds to residents from across the region who were defrauded in an international lottery scam.

The Service has been allocated £25,000 to return to 135 victims.

The National Trading Standards Team, working with the United States Federal Trade Commission, identified US-based fraudsters who targeted UK households with scam mail offering alleged cash wins and claiming ‘guaranteed’ cash prizes.

The Kansas-based criminals, Kevin Brandes, William Graham and Charles Floyd Anderson, deliberately targeted older people living alone or those with long-term health conditions, sending deceptive personalised mail to individuals in the so-called ‘Next Gen’ sweepstakes scheme.

They enticed victims into paying an upfront fee ranging from £25 to £40 – and many paid the fee several times before realising there was no prize.

Following action taken by the US Federal Trade Commission, a Federal Judge ordered that $25 million of forfeited cash and assets be made available to compensate victims around the world.

The amounts to be returned to local people vary between £25 and £1,225. Officers are also advising those affected on how to identify scams and stay safe in future.

Janet Quinn, Scams Lead Officer for Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service, said: “Thanks to the work of National Trading Standards and the Federal Trade Commission, I am delighted to say that we will be returning money to dozens of people who were defrauded.

“Scams and mass marketing mail fraud like this are becoming increasingly common with fraudsters trying to capitalise on the current cost-of-living crises and they don’t give a second thought to the damage they cause and the victims they scam, many of which are elderly and vulnerable and are least able to afford it.”

For more information on how to protect yourself from fraud and scams see our scams webpage.

For advice about mail scams go to the Think Jessica website.

If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to your bank and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

For advice, please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.