Mail Fraud

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

More and more consumers are receiving misleading or downright fraudulent mail promotions. These promotions take several forms. Some examples are:

  • sweepstakes that require you to pay an entry fee or order a product;
  • notices of prizes that require you to call a 900 number or buy a product;
  • mailings that look like they are from government agencies, but they are not;
  • classified “employment” or “business opportunity” advertisements promising easy money for little work; and
  • prize awards that ask for your credit card or bank account number.

Consumers should be particularly suspicious of one of the most prevalent forms of mail fraud, notices that you have received a prize, in some cases a very expensive prize like a car or vacation. Usually, you have to purchase a product, for example, a lifetime supply of cosmetics or large amounts of vitamins, to be eligible to receive the prize. In fact, few of the prizes are awarded, and of those received, most are worthless.

Contact your state or local consumer office or Better Business Bureau if you have any doubts about promotions you have received in the mail. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

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