University of Missouri Extension

Is There a Bandit in Your Mailbox?

The US Postal Service will deliver more than 180 billion pieces of mail this year, including some interesting, appealing and attractive solicitations.

The Federal Trade Commission and the US Postal Inspection Service say there are mailbox bandits lurking behind some of these solicitations and they’re after only one thing - your money. They tug at your heartstrings, take advantage of your trusting nature, or appeal to the entrepreneur in you.

To beat the bandits recognize some of the lines they use like:

"Stuff envelopes at home and earn big dollars." Truth is few companies hire individuals to provide this service. It’s likely you won’t make money, it will cost you money.

"You have been selected to receive a fabulous vacation!" Just send a membership fee and look for scheduling problems, nonexistent cruises, shabby hotels, and fly-by-night airlines.

"This chain letter is perfectly legal!" All chain letters are illegal. It’s that simple.

Related web sites:

Source: "Is There a Bandit in Your Mailbox?" Consumer Alert from the Federal Trade Commission, 10/97.

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Last updated: March 09, 2005
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Cynthia Crawford
Sandra McKinnon
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