A SCHEME to stop rogue traders operating scams by hiding behind PO box addresses is set to be launched in West Yorkshire.
It follows the introduction of a new code of practice by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) for companies who supply such addresses.
The majority of mailing houses operate within the law. But some less reputable businesses use this facility as an opportunity to set up dubious home working schemes, operate prize draw scams, offer mail order goods which never arrive and generally rip off the public.
Several previous scams have used mailing addresses in Huddersfield, but the companies behind them are often based elsewhere in Europe.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service is calling upon local companies who provide trading addresses to support the initiative.
This Trading Standards initiative called the MAIL (Mail, Accommodation, Internet and Locations) Fair Trade Scheme, is completely free of charge for traders to join.
It is designed to ensure a co-operative relationship between Trading Standards and its members. Members will be required to keep accurate records of their clients and assist Trading Standards in following up complaints.
Graham Hebblethwaite, West Yorkshire's Chief Trading Standards Officer, said: "We are eager to implement this initiative in West Yorkshire and stamp out these businesses who misuse mailing addresses as quickly as possible.
"We receive many complaints from angry consumers who have been left out of pocket after falsely being told that they are the lucky winner of £10,000, a sports car or a luxury holiday.
"These conmen are extremely difficult to trace as they use such addresses only for a short time."
Kirklees councillor Tony Brice, of the Trading Standards Committee, said: "This initiative will help to put a stop to those traders intent on conning and misleading members of the public using these addresses to disguise their identities and their true location."
* Consumer Direct: 08454 040506.