Monday, May 31, 2004

Important Junk Mail

A fact of life in America today is that the clueless are targets for increasingly sophisticated ways to rip them off. Even the educated have a hard time avoiding scams these days but it is true that a healthy dose of skepticism and a good education are essential to stay out of debt today. One trap that has become very common is the Important Junk Mail phenomenon.

Have you been the recipient of junk mail masquerading as important express mail, telegrams, or notifications that you've won a bundle of cash? The junk mail companies, er, direct mail professionals became tired of having their junk mailings recognized for what they were and tossed in the trash unopened. The solution was to start packaging their junk in important-looking envelopes designed to mislead the recipient into thinking he/she had received something they would actually want - cash winnings, urgent news from family, etc. Here's an example I received today:

OkiePundit recognized the fake express mail nature of the mail piece but I opened it to see who was stooping low to deceive. Inside was an advertisement from Lithia Dodge of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma telling me that I qualified for an "invitation-only" sale of Dodge vehicles!! This sale is not open to the general public I was assured. I am given four 30-minute time slots in the coming week during which I can show up for my exclusive sale AND I am promised that I will either receive $5,000 in cash OR a $500 gift certificate. Gee, I wonder which one I would get? The cash or a coupon for $500 off something I don't want? This tactic used by Lithia is a brilliant way to concentrate their sucker traffic into 30-minute blocks of time for efficient shearing of the sheep.

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