About this site...
This site is dedicated to helping you, your relatives and friends understand some
of the mail you may get. In particular, these letters that are nothing but SCAMs. I became
aware of these SCAMs when an elderly aunt passed away several years ago. Besides the normal
collections of furniture, property, books and memorabilia, were literally stacks of these SCAM
letters. I realized that she, like many elderly, knew very little about the technologies that
you and I may take for granted, namely the computer and the software available for creating
documents. While most of us know about SCAM and SPAM emails, I was
completely unaware that the postal service was still being used to deliver these same things!
Our elderly friends are at even more risk since many of them have no idea that it is even
possible to search for help about these types of mailings or how easy it is to create them!
That’s why this site exists; to help get the word out about these charlatans, thieves and
This site is basically a digital copy of over 50 different letters my aunt
received. But there are a few more that have arrived well after her death; mailing lists are
not always updated expeditiously! That provided just a bit of humor when I realized these
frauds claiming to know so much about the future can’t seem to even be aware of the
recent past. Some of the letters would be considered humorous because of the shear audacity of
their claims and promises. But that humor is soon forgotten when I realized the money, time,
energy and mental anguish these letters cause. I hope you will scan enough of the letters here
so that you will be able to help prevent anyone from being abused by the people responsible for
You can help in several ways:
- Report this kind of abuse to local, state and Federal agencies, being mindful
of any embarrassment that may be involved.
- Help to educate your relatives, especially those that may not use computers,
about these kinds of letters.
- Talk to your friends and relatives about this scourge and ask them to help
help spread the word.
- Forward any letters you may receive of collect to me, just scan the pages,
if possible and email the file.
- You can also post your scans (even images) of any letters you get to any on-line storage
site you use and then just send me a link. This is particularly useful for large files.
There are several free ‘Cloud’ sites such as:
Thanks for visiting the site! I hope it will be of help to you. Don’t
hesitate to let me know of any errors or needed corrections. I especially appreciate any
constructive criticism or suggestions for improvements. There is a link to a
Contact Format the bottom of every page, feel
free to use that form to tell me of your thoughts. If you find the site useful, please let
others know about it!
This site, like so many others, uses code snippets from dozens of
much more talented writers and developers. Some, in no particular order are:
- “Speech bubbles:”Craig Buckner/SitePoint
- I‘ve lost my links to the changing main navigation method and there seem to be
newer fads coming along now, anyway!
- I had excellent support and help for the Contact form from Vishal P. Rao and
hisEasy PHP Contact Form.
Characteristics of a SCAM
First, a definition:
SCAM (noun): A dishonest
(verb): to swindle,
cheat, deceive, trick, dupe, hoodwink, double-cross, con, fleece, sting, bilk, rook, gyp,
finagle, bamboozle, flimflam, put one over on, pull a fast one on, sucker, stiff, shake down,
and my personal favorite: HORNSWOGGLE
One of those terms is actually the abbreviation of the term: confidence.
Normally, confidence is a great attribute. It involves honesty, trust, reliability and respect.
But when used in a SCAM, it loses all those positive traits and becomes a tool of falsehood,
shame, weakness and destruction.
This form of reverse or contra-confidence is the basic tool every SCAM. The
job of the SCAMmer is to convince you to have total confidence in his
story. But in the ironic twist of meanings, he uses your confidence to harm
you instead of help you. That’s why a SCAM is also called a “CONfidence
game.” But it’s a game you are guaranteed to lose, usually sooner than later.
A partial list of the characteristics of
- Often a request for additional personal information, birthdate, phone number, etc.
- Always a request for money, even when the letter says otherwise!
- Time-sensitive response requirements, always
- Warnings of impending and serious problems, always non-specific
- Promises of support and help
- Empathy for your problems, though never detailed
- Flattery, sometimes effusive, always non-specific
- Self aggrandizement of the SCAMmer, sometimes claims of other “psychics”
respect or admiration, sometimes even dislike
- Claims of past successes and even genealogical connections to historical figures
- Unverifiable testimonials
- Worthless guarantees
- Usually printed replicas of amulets, tarot card replicas and “magical art”
- Amazing, unverifiable stories about previous exploits
- Bulk mail permits or “stamps”
- Bulk printed materials, nothing unique or personal
- Signatures are simply printed images, never written with pen and ink.
You will recognize most of these characteristics in
all the examples on this site. Not all SCAM letters have all the items in the list. Some may
have even more and my hope is that you may learn to spot them by reading some of these letters
and any you may collect on your own.
How the Site is Arranged - Six Categories
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Sooner or later, we may all receive a letter telling us of some terrible event
that will be happening in a matter of days. It may also tell us of some wonderful things that
will happen, if we simply return the included form and just a small sum of money!
The Psychic wants us to believe how anxious they are to work with us in
fulfilling all the wonderful events they know we can enjoy; winning a big lottery, finding a
long lost love, completely getting out of debt, receiving great sums of money from completely
unknown sources, etc. Or how urgent it is that we respond before the horrible events that are
foreseen only by the incredible foresight of this helpful person.
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This group could just as well be called “The False Prophets”. But
even a brief reading of their claims and literature will quickly reveal their motives are
exactly the same as the so-called “Psychics”. Their goal, however, is common to all
SCAMmers; to separate you from your money.
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Your state may have legal lotteries. There are lotteries in many countries around
the world. Just remember that lotteries are actually forms of gambling; that means there will
definitely be more losers than winners. The lottery organizers seldom dwell on how many losers
there will be. On the other hand, you will always be told about how much the winner(s) will
There will also be people who will offer you opportunities to guarantee you
a LOSS! These will be offers for fake lotteries or promises to buy entries that are usually
unavailable to you. Guess who will actually be a “winner” in these schemes? Hint:
you won’t see them in a mirror!
If you are a citizen of the United States, it might be wise to remember that
it is a federal offense to participate in foreign lotteries. If you ever get any mailing that
offers to let you enter a foreign lottery, please take it to your local Postmaster.
Multi-Level Marketing & Pyramid Schemes
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There are basically two types of these schemes: Product “sales” and
“investment opportunities.” Both schemes require you to recruit new people to
participate. One requires you to purchase some inventory to sell to your recruits. The second
one simply requires you to pay a fee to your recruiter and then recruit a certain number of
people to pay you. Of course, part of THAT payment is to be forwarded to YOUR recruiter. Either
way, the numbers required to keep these schemes going guarantee failure. And the failure will
be sooner than later!
The only variation on these schemes is the number of recruits required by
each new recruit. The smaller the number, the slower it fails. But the failure is inevitable.
The reason is that there are only a finite number of people in the known universe who can
become recruits. Now, if you find a new populated planet, you might avoid the inevitable
failure for a few more years. Unfortunately, unless the people on that planet reproduce
extremely fast, the “plan” will still fail.
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Wouldn’t it be nice to earn a little money from the comfort of our own
home? We can all probably think of some time we waste just watching TV, surfing the web, etc..
Why not do something “productive” and be “your own boss?” Enticing
idea! Exactly the kind of thinking that causes us to drop our guard!
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Some SCAMs are unique or they combine one or more of the above methods. Some even
warn about Psychics, Astrologers and Numerologists. But they all share in an attempt to relieve
you of your money!
I’ve come across numerous sites while building this site.
Some offer help in contacting authorities. Some are sites maintained directly by the USPS or
the FBI. Some offer help in dealing with our elderly friends and families. Some are general,
some are concerned about specific SCAMs, all may be of help and I encourage you to visit them
If you find other sites that have helped you, why not let me
know? Send me their URL (address) or even just the title of the site. Just use the Contact link
at the bottom of every page.