Big Mail Order Scams Explained
No matter how hard anyone tries, mail order scams existed in the past, they exist now and they will continue to exist into the future. One of the main reasons they continue to live on and on is because new people are entering the market all the time. These new people have no knowledge of previous scams and fall prey to the same ones others have experienced before.
The purpose of this report is to share with new people the old scams they may not realize exist. This is my effort in combating crime!
Too Good to be True
Every person (almost) on the planet Earth has received a prize claim notice informing him or her that they have won a major prize. All they have to do is pay shipping and handling. However, NO FEE is every required for LEGITIMATE prizes you have won. If you ever are asked to pay for a prize (even shipping and handling), you'd better toss it away as quickly as possible.
One friend of mine was scammed this way. A company claimed he had won a genuine oil painting. The picture showing this magnificent piece of art was on the claim form. It cost $7.95 postage and handling to receive. My friend sent in the money and anxiously awaited his prize.
Unfortunately, all he received was a piece of junk. The oil painting looked like something a kid could paint and it only measured 10" x 12" (hardly the size pictured on the claim form).
Additionally, the company said the frame this oil painting was in had a value of $35. But in actuality, it had a value of $1.
Free Boat and Motor
Following along the same lines as the scenario above, another friend of mine received notice that he had won a boat and motor. The shipping and handling charge was only $39.95.
But when the boat arrived, it was a "blow-up" kind with plastic paddles that were in two separate pieces. The motor was also plastic but it made a buzzing noise before being tossed in the trash!
Another type of scam is what I call a "legitimate scam." This type of scam does not lie in its advertising. In fact, the honest truth is told. However, the customer is led to believe something different. Let me give you an example.
An advertisement run in a popular women's magazine made the following claim for their Automatic Clothes Dryer:
- Cuts down on laundromat fees.
- Folds up and fits in a suitcase.
- Only $19.95.
When my friend ordered this product what she received was a clothes line with clothes pins!
As you can see, the company's advertising doesn't lie. A clothes line will cut down on laundromat fees and it will fold up and fit into a suitcase. The "automatic" part refers to mother nature drying the clothes naturally.
Legitimate Scams About Response Rates
Another scam that con artists use legitimately is the one in which they claim they received a 90% response from a certain letter or mailing they did. In actuality, they DID in fact receive a 90% response from the mailing they did. The only thing they don't tell you is that the response was "junk mail" -- NOT orders like you are led to believe.
Regardless of the stage you are at in mail order, if you responded to only one classified ad in the back of a national publication, or ordered any product in the mail, your name is on a mailing list somewhere and is being sold to other mailing list brokers. I've tested the theory personally many times over and over. The first thing a newcomer gets hit with in mail order is "junk mail." Some people think this is really what mail order is all about and run away (I don't blame them). But once you get through the muck, you will find there are a lot of good people out here!
When the mail is used to intentionally misrepresent a product or service it constitutes Mail Fraud. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is charged with investigating violations of the law, usually in response to consumer complaints.
After spending the last few months investigating certain types of mail order businesses, it was obvious that some of them were borderline questionable, if not a verifiable scam.
It seems like every mail order publication has at least one ad in it promising hundreds of dollars a week, just for stuffing envelopes. Some even promise to pay $4 or $5 per envelope stuffed!
If you are active in mail order, you've no doubt seen tons of chain letters and pyramid programs. In case you're not familiar with them, here's an overview, so you know what to watch out for.
They arrive in your mail - a conspicuous looking mail piece from some "official looking" bank claiming that you have been Pre-Approved for a MasterCard or VISA credit card.
The 911 telephone system is standard nationwide to enable callers to reach emergency services by phone with a minimum of difficulty. If you have an emergency involving the safety of life or property, you are encouraged to make use of the system.
Would you send Sears $20 and expect them to know you were ordering without you specifying it in your order form? Would you send your electric company a check for $15 and expect them to know what account you were making a payment on?
What's a legitimate scam? It's a scam that delivers the product or service it claims to but the customer is still left with nothing!
But wherever honest firms search for new customers, so do swindlers. Phone fraud is a multi-billion dollar business that involves selling everything from bad or non-existent investments to the peddling of misrepresented products and services.
The object of any con game is to cause you to part with your money or other thing of value. Most con games are initiated by people who approach you on the street or call on you at your home.