Advertising standards authority
ASA's Director of Communications, Lynsay Taffe said:
"The majority of advertisers play by the rules but unfortunately some bogus operators deliberately target older and vulnerable people.
"It's not fair that older people are left out of pocket by fraudulent and scam mail.
"Our practical advice builds upon the work of Age Cymru to help to tackle this issue."
The ASA has issued the following top tips to help people who are targeted by scammers:
• Sign up to the Mail Preference Service for free on 0845 070 0707 to have your name and home address in the UK removed from lists used by the direct mail industry.
• If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of the mailing – do not reply.
• Your bank will never ask for your bank details, if an email is asking for them it's not genuine.
• Just because something says it's "official" doesn't mean it is.
• Just because the email address of the sender includes a brand or company doesn't mean it's genuine.
• If you are concerned about an email talk about it to someone such as friends, family or Citizens Advice. If the email tells you not to talk to anyone: it's a scam.
• Fill in our complaints form, if you are receiving unsolicited mail. The ASA can forward mailings from companies based outside the UK to their relevant Advertising Authority.
Bogus mailings prompt a number of complaints to the ASA every year.
The ASA can and will take action against problem mailings by legitimate businesses, but often bogus mailings are issued by fly-by-night operators or individuals who are acting fraudulently and breaking the law.
In September 2014, the Royal Mail and Trading Standards launched a joint initiative to tackle scam mail in the postal system by creating a new improved process for cancelling contracts that send fraudulent mail.
The ASA also have a dedicated 'Hot Topic' information webpage on dealing with Overseas Mail.