The Scottish Business Crime Centre has launched Think Jessica with the help of a woman whose elderly mother handed over an estimated £50,000.
Thousands of Scots – particularly the most vulnerable people – are being targeted each day, by sinister scam mail frauds, with many shelling out large sums in the hope of winning fictitious prizes.
In some cases, victims receive up to 70 letters a day. Many have even been forced to sell their homes to keep up with the scammers’ demands.
The pain and misery that such scams can bring was highlighted by Marilyn Baldwin, who is launching the Think Jessica campaign in Scotland after watching her mother Jessica Looke suffer for years at the hands of criminals.
Ms Baldwin said her mother who died four years ago aged 83, received around 30,000 scam letters over a five-year period and believes she parted with around £50,000 after repeatedly being conned into believing she had won money or prizes.
Mrs Baldwin, 56, from Derbyshire, said: “It was as if she was being brainwashed or was in some cult. She was totally convinced the paper chase the criminals were laying would eventually lead to a pot of gold.
“My mother believed that money she was continually sending was an investment that would make her secure in her final years.
“She was controlled by these criminals to such an extent that she would willingly live on tea and toast to be sure she had money to pay the demands on the next promised big win.
“I have no doubt that the scammers contributed to her death. We think she could have parted with around £50,000 in total – but the truth is we simply don’t know as she kept so much to herself.”