Logo for Think Jessica campaign

Think Jessica is a website at www.thinkjessica.com

 

Jessica’s Story

For five years Jessica was hounded by scammers. They contacted her via the post and phone. The Royal Mail delivered approximately 30,000 criminal letters to her during that period. She spent most of her time reading, sorting and responding to criminals and became trapped in a delusional world the criminals created.  Because Jessica  was not diagnosed as having a mental health condition her family were powerless to intervene. They tried every avenue to find help but none was available. Her daughter believes the torment the scammers inflicted on her contributed to her death. Think Jessica is campaigning for “Jessica’s Scam Syndrome” to be recognised as a mental health condition treated by forced separation from criminal mail and phone calls.

Jessica died on October 24, 2007 at the age of 83.

The Think Jessica Campaign

In 2007 Jessica’s daughter Marilyn Baldwin appeared on BBC Breakfast in an attempt to shock the government and postal services into taking action to protect millions of vulnerable people who were sending billions of pounds to fraudsters. She spoke about the victims Think Jessica had been alerted to, some  were receiving up to 100 scam letters a day from criminals all over the world.

She appealed to the Royal Mail to put a system in place allowing postal workers to  flag up victims by passing on their details to professionals who could help.

After years of constant appeals Marilyn’s persistence finally paid off when in 2014 the Royal Mail and Trading Standards started working together to train postal workers.

However by the time many victims are flagged up they already have “Jessica’s Scam Syndrome” – Think Jessica continues to campaign for protection for those victims.

The campaign’s objectives.

1.       To raise the public’s awareness and educate professionals to the extent of the criminal mail problem in the U.K. £10 billion is estimated as being lost to scams each year; however, only one in five cases are reported.

2.       “Jessica Scam Syndrome” to be recognised as a condition and those affected separated from criminals. (Currently there is no help available from any agency or organisation other than “lip service”). As the law stands any intervention like redirection of mail or handing over power of attorney is not possible without the victim’s consent.

The UK Fraud Act 2006 came into force on 15 January 2007 and is a clearly written piece of legislation that should facilitate the investigation and prosecution of fraud in the UK.

According to the Act, the offence of fraud can be committed in three ways:

·         False representation

·         Failing to disclose information

·         Abuse of position

It is notr necessary to prove that the victim was deceived: all that is required is to prove that the fraudster was dishonest in their behaviour.

The Think Jessica Movement

Think Jessica is a registered charity supported by countless agencies, organisations and police forces nationwide and is committed to making people aware of the danger and financial implications caused by postal and telephone scams, educating professionals and protecting the most vulnerable members of our society from illegal practices.

Think Jessica produces literature, DVDs and other material designed to inform and forewarn potential victims, which can be used as tools by relatives and  professionals.

Along with awareness raising events,  Think Jessica organises national poster campaigns. “Silence of the Scams” posters were recently displayed  on billboards in train stations, super markets and shopping centers nationally. Think Jessica banners warning people about scams and advertising free “Scam Mail is Black Mail” booklets have been displayed on hundreds of buses.

Over the Years Think Jessica has gained a lot of media interest and Marilyn is a regular face on TV. She has given interviews on  GMTV, This Morning, BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, Tonight, Panorama, You’ve Been Scammed, One Show, Fake Britain, Crime Watch, Inside Out, Working Lunch, ITVs Hunting the Doorstep Con Men, Sunday Politics, You and Yours, Jeremy Vine and many other national and local TV and radio programs. She also gives presentations which highlight the mind-set of victims like her mother and the frustration and helplessness faced by the relatives of silent victims of fraud.

Following her first presentation for the OFT she was invited to speak at the House of Commons for the launch of Scamnesty. Over the years she has been a keynote speaker at countless conferences and regularly meets with MPs and Ministers.  In 2009 she was awarded the Trading Standards Institute Heroes’ award and became a finalist in the Daily Mirror Peoples Awards. ITV viewers voted Marilyn “Inspirational Woman of the Year” 2013. In 2014 she received an OBE for her voluntary work with the Metropolitan police, Operation Sterling which led to the police, government and postal services working together and  seized around 8 tonnes of criminal mail off three flights into Heathrow.

 

The Think Jessica campaign really works – support it.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-wasters do let me know – please go to the About page then Contact Us.

 

Click here to listen to Stop-Scammers podcast

This website (as at 20th May 2016) has more than seventeen thousand reports of scammers and more than  ninety thousand photos of scammers and over eleven thousand letter sets.  That’s comprehensive and impressive.

Stop-scammers.com is a store of information about female scammers across the world. Their database lists known scammers together with corroborating evidence such as correspondence, photos, countries of known operation and documentation commonly used by these international thieves.

The website says “If you've been scammed in the past or you are suspicious that the lady you are corresponding with may be anything but who she says she is, then you'll find all the information and tools you need to fight back at Stop-Scammers.com

Why this is based on female scammers only? -  I don’t know, but there is also a website of male scammers called male-scammers.com..

 

The focus of the website is to build information so that anyone who believes they may be in the process of being scammed, can check and see if the woman in question is a known scammer.

Typical Scam Scenarios

The basis of these scams is building up regular correspondence  between the scammer and the victim. After several such contacts, then the scammer begins to ask for things – foreign language courses, computer costs, rent etc. This may take the form of claiming she has had goods stolen or been attacked or has a sick mother to pay for etc.

 

If the victim pays, then the scam continues until he stops paying. 

Scenarios may include travel – she wants you to pay for her tickets to meet up. Or for a visa, travel insurance etc.

Maybe she claims to be in need of medication but can’t afford it or one of her relatives is suddenly ill and needs money for treatment.

Maybe she needs to have a bank account in your country so she can transfer money but once she’s got the new account – you’re no longer needed.

Maybe she needs to pay taxes or bribes to government officials before she can leave the country.

It goes on. There can be endless reasons why the victim should pay increasing amounts of money. Until he  eventually stops paying and the scammer moves on.

If you think you may be such a victim, then check out the website stop-scammers.com or if the scammer is male then check website male-scammers.com

 

 

 

 

 

Citizens Advice Bureau

Impartial advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Find out about types of scam and how to spot and report scams. Look for signs to watch out for if you look after someone who could be vulnerable to scams.

   
 

Metropolitan Police Book of Scams

BIGSCAMS. We are pleased to bring you the third edition of 'The Little Book of Big.Scams'.

 

   
 

 Which Magazine

Scammers have become more sophisticated in their bid to part us from our cash. From email scams and copycat websites to nuisance calls and tax rebate scams, we need our wits about us. Our guides help you spot a scam or get money back.
   
 

 The Guardian Newspaper

Latest scams and how to protect yourself against them.

   
 

Action Fraud

ActionFraud is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.

 

We provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and cyber crime.

   
 

Victim Support

Victim Support is an independent charity that helps victims of crime and their families, regardless of how long the crime was committed.

 

The support is free, confidential and tailored to the victim's needs. .

   
 


Domestic Violence Helplines

A Guide to UK Based Free Domestic Violence Helplines by Oliver at Rehab4 Addiction

(this is not directly related to scammers but was asked to be included on this page)

   

 

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