Protecting customers

Chief Postal Inspector Guy Cottrell and Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the crackdown Sept. 22.

The Postal Inspection Service and other agencies are joining forces to bust an international mail fraud ring that has robbed U.S. victims of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Chief Postal Inspector Guy Cottrell joined Attorney General Loretta Lynch and other officials who announced the crackdown Sept. 22 at a news conference in Washington, DC.

“The law enforcement and civil injunction efforts announced today are just a part of our initiative,” Cottrell said. “We believe that consumer education is the best defense against these scammers. We can’t arrest all of these con artists, so preventing the crime is critical.”

The schemes involve fraudsters who create letters falsely claiming the recipient has won cash or prizes. To collect the winnings, the letters instruct the recipients to send money for processing fees or taxes.

The agencies want to close mailing companies that contacted victims, people who traded lists of potential victims and a Canadian company that processed the money.

The Inspection Service has obtained a warrant to seize a U.S. bank account associated with the Canadian company.

The Justice Department’s news release has more information. The Inspection Service’s site has guidelines on avoiding mail fraud.