Royal Mail crackdown stops one million scam mail items reaching Brits' doorsteps

Oliver Gill
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Royal Mail started warehousing suspect mail last November

Royal Mail today revealed how it is safeguarding Brits from "terrible material" reaching UK households.

Since November, the FTSE 100 firm has stopped 1m scam mail items from reaching people's homes. Royal Mail has warehoused the offending material before destroying it.

The 501-year-old firm teamed up with rivals Whistl and UK Mail at the end of last year to crack down on scam mail, blocking would-be illicit items before they get to Brits' doorsteps.

Louise Baxter, a team manger of the National Trading Standards scams team, estimated £5bn to £10bn is lost to scammers every year in the UK.

Read more: BT says it's "drastically reduced" nuisance calls

“We are working hard to try and stop this terrible material from reaching UK households,” said Royal Mail managing director of letters Stephen Agar.

Every item of scam mail, however, is one item too many. We continue to fight against the fraudsters who cause so much misery.

The government's consumer minister Margot James said: “Since the industry roundtable I hosted last year, Royal Mail has been ramping up its efforts to protect vulnerable consumers from receiving scam mail. Stopping a million items since November is a significant milestone.

These scams can have a devastating impact on those affected, and that is why this government is committed to ensuring that action is taken.

In March, Royal Mail announced changes to the terms and conditions governing bulk mail contracts. The changes enabled the delivery firm to refuse to carry mail that is suspected to be fraudulent.

The FTSE 100 firm has also contacted special delivery households receiving high volumes of scam mail.

Under the initiative Royal Mail blocks and impounds scam mail at its major distribution centres before it reaches the customer’s letterbox.

The scheme is similar to one employed in the phone sector. BT and other providers launched a free service to divert nuisance callers, including scam artists, to a junk phone box.

Read more: Got your number: Phone watchdog probes "deliberate misconduct" and "scams"

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