CONMEN are targeting homes in number of bogus prize draws.

Trading Standards officers have been inundated with calls from people who fear they've been caught out by scam mail.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council's chief trading standards officer Jeff Bell has a database of schemes in circulation. He said: "Scams can come through the post, by e-mail, text message or fax. The issue always provokes the highest number of complaints. I suppose it's the feeling that maybe this is the chance to get rich quick. But there's always a sad ending if you follow it through."

One of the latest is the 'I fancy you' scam on mobile phones, enticing victims to find out who sent the text message. No identity is disclosed and the fact that the return call is to a premium rate number is often disguised or absent.

The Department of Trade and Industry is running a campaign, Prize Winner or Prize Fool, with a list of warning signs. Tactics include: a sender who is based overseas; an unsolicited approach, where you've never before contacted the sender; an invitation to send a processing or management fee; an invitation to send money abroad or to a PO Box; prizes expressed in foreign currency; rewards wholly dependent on persuading others to join the scheme; a very short time to claim the prize; and an invitation to claim by using premium rate phone lines, usually starting 090.