Mail Scams

Snail mail letter scams seem to be falling out of favor but they still occur. You may get paper correspondence from supposed government agencies, banks, etc. Some of these look impressive but they often contain clues as to their nefarious scamical nature. They may claim that you owe money, are going to prosecuted for some crime, won a lottery, or some variation of one of those.

The first scam indication is the postage used. All legal and official correspondence MUST be sent using First Class Mail (FCM) or better. If the postage is FCM, Priority Mail, Certified Mail, or Express Mail then it MAY be real (but still verify it). Key word here is “may.” If the mail was sent using Presort, bulk, 3rd Class, etc. then it is NOT real. Nearly every mail scam that I have seen uses the wrong type of postage and is easy to recognize.

If the mail looks real and has the proper postage then verify it. Do NOT use the phone numbers in the letter. For example, if the letter is from the IRS then get a number for the real IRS office and contact them using that number. If the letter was from the bank then lookup their number and call them directly.

Dealing with Scam/Junk Mail

I used to get LOTS of scam and junk mail. I found a way to help deal with this irritant. Most of the junk mail was trying to sell something that I had no interest in purchasing. Most of these included a pre-paid return address envelope. I would take the contents of the letter, neatly fold it to fit into the return address envelope, and add a post-it note with the message, “Remove me from your mailing list.” The junk mail company had to pay to print and mail the original junk and now they had to pay to get it back. They probably had to pay extra postage because of the weight of the returned envelope. This decreased the amount of junk mail significantly.