Scams are costing millions and most of the people initiating scams are never punished.
Here is one that I know many elderly people will panic and call to get money. It's a postcard it seems reasonable but in actuality it is designed for one thing and one thing only. To get a call. No return address yet the bulk mail stamp is out of Medina, OH.
It has a clear warning on the address side of the postcard. What is not included is the company name. Want to know the hook, the reason people call and why this company can afford to send thousands of targeted postcards?
Here is what is says:
"This communication is to inform you that you may have an annuity that has reached the end of its surrender period."
The end of a surrender period is a positive event that means an owner may cash in an annuity or make withdrawals without incurring a surrender charge. A surrender charge is a fee levied by an insurance company on an annuity contract for withdrawals before the end of the time set by the contract (surrender period). Withdrawals may, however, still be subject to tax consequences.
Please contact our scheduling department to discuss your options. 877-For-Money
(I changed the toll free number to protect the innocent)
This postcard was sent to my wife's elderly parents. We have them trained to ask us before responding to financial matters, services or suggested repairs. They, like many elderly American's have investments. Ask them if they have an annuity or a CD and they may say, "yes or I don't know, ask my daughter!"
The point is this type of postcard was directed at a specific targeted age group. They off no information on their company only a toll free 877 number to call. They are their to convert money from prospect pockets to their pockets.
We have so many laws because of people taking financial advantage of other people yet we may have to think about requiring a business name and return address on every piece of direct mail. Most reputable businesses I know want their names included on anything they produce. I would be ashamed to have my name on this postcard too!
8.3 million people in the United States are scammed each year, according to the Bureau of Justice. Of course we know this is only the number that has reported being scammed. Many more never know or don't report being scammed because they think nothing will be done.
In a depressed market with many living on a fixed income the greed of companies to take advantage of our elderly population is appalling.
What's the latest scam in your area?