AN elderly man paid £20,000 to junk mail companies for prizes which he never received.
Trading standards chiefs have now warned other people to learn from the West Yorkshire man's mistake and never reply to junk mail which are often scams.
Once people reply, their names often end up on so-called "sucker lists", circulated between the con companies and the people get bombarded with many more scams.
The victim paid out £20,000 in response to letters offering lottery wins, luxury goods and prize draws.
Under the impression he had a chance of winning many of the promised prizes, he trustingly sent money off in response to requests for registration fees.
The promised prizes and money wins never materialised.
The man kept all the correspondence - and the sheer volume of the letters is staggering.
Martin Wood, Chief Officer for West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: "The danger in responding to a mailing scam such as this is that personal details get passed on to other similar companies.
"They will then add them to their own database."
Trading Standards Committee member Clr Tony Brice, a member of Kirklees Council, said: "It is especially sad when vulnerable members of society become victims of scams because of their trusting nature.
"Anyone should be very wary of responding to any correspondence - whether by telephone, email, letter or fax - which purports to offer you something that seems too good to be true. It usually is," said Clr Brice.
Businesses have also been warned about a new scam which could cost them £600.
A bogus company phones them up and says someone has been trying to "steal" their website address to set up another site under the same name.
The caller says they can stop this and ensure the victim's website address is secure for 10 years - but it will cost the firm £600.
The caller then uses high- pressure sales tricks to get the victim to give them their credit card details. But it is all a con.
Mr Wood said: "No other individual is trying to set up a website using your domain name.
"It only costs £10 to register a domain name and you can only legally register a site for two years," he added.