I received this yesterday:
"I deliver loads of scam mail which nearly always goes to people that are obviously vulnerable. Today I posted many examples of an obvious scam and even received the same scam letter myself. This post has the logo 'Delivered by Royal Mail' which as far as I understand can only be shown with the permission of Royal Mail or its partner Spring Global Mail (which handles junk mail).
"I feel very guilty delivering this cruel mail; something has to be done to stop the weak being exploited by criminals. If a change of law is needed then government should do that."
And here's an image the "communication" in question:
Sadly, only a couple of days ago government made it clear that it has no intention of doing anything about scam mail. In response to questions from Heather Wheeler MP the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Jo Swinson, insisted that any change to existing legislation would result in postmen opening people's private mail. You can read the transcript of the debate or, if you got Microsoft Silverlight installed, view it. (Does anyone still have Silverlight installed!?)
I think you'll agree Heather Wheeler talked a lot of sense (and that's not something I say often about a Tory MP). It's a shame that Jo Swinson chose to make a complete caricature of her arguments. Surely it would be easy enough for Royal Mail to weed out scam mail at source. When Royal Mail gets a container with obvious scam mail, like the rubbish depicted above, they could easily check with the Office of Fair Trading whether or not such mail items might perhaps breach the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The simple fact of the matter is that Royal Mail doesn't want to prevent scam mail. Facilitating scammers is a profitable business.
It might be interesting to say a few words about the piece of scam mail shown above, to illustrate exactly how Royal Mail makes it easy for criminals to effectively target vulnerable people with scams. As the postman who contacted me pointed out the item features a "Delivered by Royal Mail" logo. This is purely to fool people into thinking that the sender is based in the UK. The item actually originates from France. It entered the UK via Spring Global Mail - a company that specialises in making mailings look as if they were sent from within the UK. Spring Global Mail is popular with scammers - and Royal Mail has got a 33% stake in the business.
You can tell that the above scam mail was produced by French criminals by looking at the return address: Greenford, UB18 7FR. To make mail items look as if they were sent from within the UK Spring Global Mail uses the postcode UB18 7xx. The last two letters of the postcode usually indicate the country of origin (and FR of course stands for France). Senders don't have to reveal where they're based; they can either not use a return at all or use the postcode UB18 7DS. In case you're wondering, DS is short for Destroy. You see, Royal Mail cares about its clientele.
Funny, isn't it. According to our government doing something to prevent scam mail would cause Royal Mail a
genuine operational issue about feasibility and the resource required (Column 304WH). Yet, setting up crafty constructions aimed at making people less suspicious of dubious mailings is no problem at all for the company.