Mailing SCAMs... and how to avoid them!

Lies, Fakery, Greed and Tomfoolery

A collection of mailed SCAMs

Recent Additions:
10/13/2014 Red Flag icons Major points of concern Red Flag Red flags ( ~59% complete )
8/29/2014 Privacy Policy page
8/22/2014 Postcard Mailing SCAM


About this site...

This site is dedicated to helping you, your relatives and friends understand some of the mail you may get. In particular, these letters that are nothing but SCAMs. I became aware of these SCAMs when an elderly aunt passed away several years ago. Besides the normal collections of furniture, property, books and memorabilia, were literally stacks of these SCAM letters. I realized that she, like many elderly, knew very little about the technologies that you and I take for granted, namely the computer and the software available for creating documents. While most of us know about SCAM and SPAM emails, I was completely unaware that the postal service was still being used to deliver these same things! Our elderly friends are at even more risk since many of them have no idea that it is even possible to search for help about these types of mailings or how easy it is to create them! That’s why this site exists; to help get the word out about these charlatans, thieves and frauds.

This site is basically a digital copy of over 50 different letters my aunt received. But there are a few more that have arrived well after her death; mailing lists are not always updated expeditiously! That provided just a bit of humor when I realized these frauds claiming to know so much about the future can’t seem to even be aware of the recent past. Some of the letters would be considered humorous because of the shear audacity of their claims and promises. But that humor is soon forgotten when I realized the money, time, energy and mental anguish these letters cause. I hope you will scan enough of the letters here so that you will be able to help prevent anyone from being abused by the people responsible for creating them.

You can help in several ways:

  • Report this kind of abuse to local, state and Federal agencies, being mindful of any embarrassment that may be involved.
  • Help to educate your relatives, especially those that may not use computers, about these kinds of letters.
  • Talk to your friends and relatives about this scourge and ask them to help help spread the word.
  • Forward any letters you may receive of collect to me, just scan the pages, if possible and email the file.

Thanks for visiting the site! I hope it will be of help to you. Don’t hesitate to let me know of any errors or needed corrections. I especially appreciate any constructive criticism or suggestions for improvements. There is a link to a Contact Form at the bottom of every page, feel free to use that form to tell me of your thoughts. If you find the site useful, please let others know about it!

This site, like so many others, uses code snippets from dozens of much more talented writers and developers. Some, in no particular order are:

  • “Speech bubbles:” Craig Buckner/SitePoint
  • I‘ve lost my links to the changing main navigation method and there seem to be newer fads coming along now, anyway!
  • I had excellent support and help for the Contact form from Vishal P. Rao and his Easy PHP Contact Form.


Characteristics of a SCAM

First, a definition:

SCAM (noun): A dishonest scheme, fraud

(verb): to swindle, cheat, deceive, trick, dupe, hoodwink, double-cross, con, fleece, sting, bilk, rook, gyp, finagle, bamboozle, flimflam, put one over on, pull a fast one on, sucker, stiff, shake down, and my personal favorite: HORNSWOGGLE

One of those terms is actually the abbreviation of the term: confidence. Normally, confidence is a great attribute. It involves honesty, trust, reliability and respect. But when used in a SCAM, it loses all those positive traits and becomes a tool of falsehood, shame, weakness and destruction.

This form of reverse or contra-confidence is the basic tool every SCAM. The job of the SCAMmer is to convince you to have total confidence in his story. But in the ironic twist of meanings, he uses your confidence to harm you instead of help you. That’s why a SCAM is also called a “CONfidence game.” But it’s a game you are guaranteed to lose, usually sooner than later.

A partial list of the characteristics of a SCAM:

  • Often a request for additional personal information, birthdate, phone number, etc.
  • Always a request for money, even when the letter says otherwise!
  • Time-sensitive response requirements, always
  • Warnings of impending and serious problems, always non-specific
  • Promises of support and help
  • Empathy for your problems, though never detailed
  • Flattery, sometimes effusive, always non-specific
  • Self aggrandizement of the SCAMmer, sometimes claims of other “psychics” respect or admiration, sometimes even dislike
  • Claims of past successes and even genealogical connections to historical figures
  • Unverifiable testimonials
  • Worthless guarantees
  • Usually printed replicas of amulets, tarot card replicas and “magical art”
  • Amazing, unverifiable stories about previous exploits
  • Bulk mail permits or “stamps”
  • Bulk printed materials, nothing unique or personal
  • Signatures are simply printed images, never written with pen and ink.

You will recognize most of these characteristics in all the examples on this site. Not all SCAM letters have all the items in the list. Some may have even more and my hope is that you may learn to spot them by reading some of these letters and any you may collect on your own.



How the Site is Arranged - Six Categories

Psychics

Sooner or later, we may all receive a letter telling us of some terrible event that will be happening in a matter of days. It may also tell us of some wonderful things that will happen, if we simply return the included form and just a small sum of money!

The Psychic wants us to believe how anxious they are to work with us in fulfilling all the wonderful events they know we can enjoy; winning a big lottery, finding a long lost love, completely getting out of debt, receiving great sums of money from completely unknown sources, etc. Or how urgent it is that we respond before the horrible events that are foreseen only by the incredible foresight of this helpful person.

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Religious

This group could just as well be called “The False Prophets.” But even a brief reading of their claims and literature will quickly reveal their motives are exactly the same as the so-called “Psychics”. Their goal, however, is common to all SCAMmers; to separate you from your money.

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Lotteries

Your state may have legal lotteries. There are lotteries in many countries around the world. Just remember that lotteries are actually forms of gambling; that means there will definitely be more losers than winners. The lottery organizers seldom dwell on how many losers there will be. On the other hand, you will always be told about how much the winner(s) will get.

There will also be people who will offer you opportunities to guarantee you a LOSS! These will be offers for fake lotteries or promises to buy entries that are usually unavailable to you. Guess who will actually be a “winner” in these schemes? Hint: you won’t see them in a mirror!

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Multi-Level Marketing & Pyramid Schemes

There are basically two types of these schemes: Product “sales” and “investment opportunities.” Both schemes require you to recruit new people to participate. One requires you to purchase some inventory to sell to your recruits. The second one simply requires you to pay a fee to your recruiter and then recruit a certain number of people to pay you. Of course, part of THAT payment is to be forwarded to YOUR recruiter. Either way, the numbers required to keep these schemes going guarantee failure. And the failure will be sooner than later!

The only variation on these schemes is the number of recruits required by each new recruit. The smaller the number, the slower it fails. But the failure is inevitable. The reason is that there are only a finite number of people in the known universe who can become recruits. Now, if you find a new populated planet, you might avoid the inevitable failure for a few more years. Unfortunately, unless the people on that planet reproduce extremely fast, the “plan” will still fail.

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Work-at-Home

Wouldn’t it be nice to earn a little money from the comfort of our own home? We can all probably think of some time we waste just watching TV, surfing the web, etc.. Why not do something “productive” and be “your own boss?” Enticing idea! Exactly the kind of thinking that causes us to drop our guard!

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Miscellaneous

Some SCAMs are unique or they combine one or more of the above methods. Some even warn about Psychics, Astrologers and Numerologists. But they all share in an attempt to relieve you of your money!

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Off-Site Links...

I’ve come across numerous sites while building this site. Some offer help in contacting authorities. Some are sites maintained directly by the USPS or the FBI. Some offer help in dealing with our elderly friends and families. Some are general, some are concerned about specific SCAMs, all may be of help and I encourage you to visit them all.

If you find other sites that have helped you, why not let me know? Send me their URL (address) or even just the title of the site. Just use the Contact link at the bottom of every page.

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