SCAMS cost Lancashire residents £64million a year, new figures have revealed.

The figure was released as the results of a scam initiative, which encouraged residents to hand over possible scam e-mails and letters to police, came to a close.

The Scamnesty campaign, run by Lancashire County Council’s trading standards service and Lancashire Police, resulted in 570 uninvited letters and emails being handed in by the public.

Scams which promise a cash windfall were top the list of methods used by criminals to trick people out of their money or personal details.

Prize draws accounted for 56 per cent, with other popular scams related to fake lotteries (14 per cent), so-called psychics (17 per cent) and a variety of ‘phishing’ hoaxes designed to con people out of their bank details or other information (12 per cent).

County Coun Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took the trouble to put the scams they received in one of our Scamnesty bins.

“While scams are a massive problem with some people being conned out of very large sums, only one in 20 victims report them, making it very difficult to take action.

“The intelligence gathered through the Scamnesty will help us to continue to raise awareness and warn people what to watch out for.”

DC Tony McClements, Lancashire police’s fraud evaluation and liaison officer, said: “The offers on many of the leaflets and letters that were handed in were appealing. They were designed to hook victims, but we always warn that if they look too good to be true then they probably are.”

Around 76,000 people fall victims to scams in Lancashire every year, and the 570 handed in as part of Scamnesty could have cost residents around £400,000 had they responded.