Scammers are everywhere, both online and offline, but in this article we take a look at how to avoid being scammed by direct mail. Don’t stress – with these top tips, we hope that you can make those all important changes that will prevent you from being scammed in the future!

What are the most popular ways that scammers use direct mail?

Lottery or Prize Draw Win Scams

These are scams through direct mail that claim that you’ve won a large sum of money in a lottery or prize draw.  The process of claiming your ‘prize’ involves phoning a premium rate telephone number and to pay an ‘administrative’ fee in order for the prize money to be released.  If you can’t remember entering a draw or lottery, the chances are that it is a scam.  Equally, no legitimate lottery company will request an administration fee. It can be quite commonplace to feel overwhelmed when you receive these calls, but know that you are not alone, and there are those of us that are here to help!

Share Scams

These are scams that send a letter to you stating that you have shares in a company and intimate that you’re coming into a big windfall from them.  Again, like lottery and prize draw scams, they’ll request that you phone a premium telephone number and pay an administration fee to release the funds.  Firstly, you should check that you actually do own any of the shares in the said company, and it would be a good idea to contact the company themselves to find out more.  If you don’t have the shares, then it’s almost certainly a random scam.

Psychic Contact Scams

This is where a bogus ‘psychic’ or ‘clairvoyant’ contacts you to tell you that they have a mystic message for you that’s going to change your life for the better.  The ‘message’ can come in the form of an impending windfall or a message from the deceased.  They are often carried out in collaboration with other direct mail scams and are used to prey on the individuals’ emotional state.

Inheritance Scams

Seemingly, a long lost relative has passed away leaving you a very large sum of money in their will.  However, legal fees will need to be paid in order to release the said funds. They’ll try to pull on your heartstrings, but don’t be fooled, these people are just as deceitful as the rest. Luckily, once you have identified inheritance scams and know what to listen for, they become easier to recognise in the future!

Other ‘money’ scams

There are many other forms that scammers employ to seem legitimate and persuade people into phoning premium rate telephone numbers or into paying for the release of bogus funds.

The whole purpose of these scams is to entice the victim into parting with their cash.  Whatever form they take, they all have the same objective, but help is never too far away.

How to avoid being scammed by direct mail?

Well, do not worry! Because there are some things that we can do to avoid being scammed by direct mail:

1.  Put signs up on your front door stating that you will not accept any junk mail.

This will alert your postman to the fact that you won’t accept any junk mail and they are then obliged not to push it through your door in the first place.

 2.  Add your name and address to the MPS

You can register your name and address with the Mailing Preference Service and advise them they you want to limit the amount of direct mail you receive.   This will halt any advertising and marketing companies who use direct mail lists as a sales vehicle from sending you their ‘junk mail’, because they have to adhere to the Data and Marketing Association Code of Conduct and other advertising regulatory bodies in the UK.  For more information and registration, click here.

3.  Use the ‘opt out’ option on the voting register

When you register to vote, you can use the opt out option on the ‘edited register’ (or ‘open register’) because some marketing companies use the voting register as names and addresses in which to send junk mail.  It is also used by scammers to find potential targets.  So, therefore, by opting out on the voting register, you’ll effectively reduce the amount of junk mail/scam mail you receive.

4.  Report any scam mail to Scamwatch UK

This important body has much information on how scammers use direct mail to extract money from you.  They are there to help and can give some positive, proactive feedback on what to do if you are the recipient of a scam email. You can view their website here.


If you’re getting a load of unwanted junk mail and are considering that some of it looks ‘scammy’, the chances are that it probably is. But don’t panic, this is completely normal – it’s how we respond that counts!  If this is the case, take the steps outlined above to avoid being scammed by direct mail.

We are Alpha Response, offering  professional and expert Printing, Mailing and Integrated services. Harness the power of a multi-channel campaign, without having to manage the complex processes. Alpha Response will take care of it all.  For more information on who we are and what we do, take a look at our website here or give us a call on 03300 563 980 – we’d be happy to hear from you!