Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Watch Out for Low-Flying Hokum
For instance, I received this rather frantic notification this past week:
Unfortunately, we've been unable to contact you. Please contact us within the next 72 hours...Or what?
We'll die of dysentery or something else that has infiltrated our water supply that must be immediately attended to?
My wife's reaction was of the what now category? "They put a new meter in last year," she said, assuming this came from our water supplier
Then she flipped the card over.
Indeed it is not. It turns out this was just a ploy by some company that sells water filters. The idea is to hit you with such a feeling of urgency that you snatch up the phone and then once you contact them to rope you in on their product. By the way, a lot of complaints on line about this company regarding both this yellow postcard, the quality of their service and the overpriced product they sell. Perhaps they also hope this falls into the mailbox of some senior citizen, which it did, who either had very poor eyesight or borders on dementia and will make a quick and panicked call to the number provided even sooner than 72 hours.
Besides the fact this was not our water provider, there was another tell-tale clue. It was addressed to me by name, but immediately beneath it said, "Or Current Resident". Obviously they are fishing off of some public listing of residents of this community.
I really dislike these type of things. Over the years I have received many an envelope appearing to be some official government agency, perhaps even the dreaded IRS, which cause my heart to skip a beat in fear of what horror lies within. I rapidly rip said official looking envelope open only to find some lame advertisement. Such disguised come-ons should be forbidden.
Just yesterday a piece landed here addressed to my son. It looked somewhat officious, had 2015 in bold letters up at the top and through the address window you could read "Pay to the order of" and my son's name. I thought perhaps it was his tax return somehow sent here and was relieved when my son stopped by that day and I could hand it to him. It was not a refund. It was a come-on from some car dealer. Bah, humbug!
We recently refinanced our humble abode to get a lower rate and payment. This has brought a flood of disguised mail offering even better deals.
Every week I get a piece identical to this on the right. It is addressed to me and above my name is the name of my mortgage bank. The return address is ambiguous at best. It could easily be an operations department for my bank. It has large red letters saying, "Mortgage Payment Information". It certainly got my attention...the first time. The half dozen I've received since not so much.
Actually, if you go down to the bottom of the offer you will find a statement that it "is not affiliated, connected, or associated with, sponsored or approved by the lender listed above". But I'm sure they hope you don't read that far, that you are dazzled by the savings highlighted and you will jump on the phone and sign up...and then probably be hit with a bunch of fees.
Then there are these insurance deals. One comes, another very officious looking one, that upon
Note all the urgency, "Dated Document Open Immediately and Verify", and rather than a company name and address in the heading it simply says, "Administrative Office", implying the administration office of the FHA.
We've been "identified as eligible" and "it is important" we contact them.
This one is also offering a long term care plan at no additional cost.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it.
Well, you know what they say about that.
Now here is another little do-dad that is beginning to irk me. I seem to receive these offers about every third day. They come from a company whose ads are on TV a lot, in which the Chairman of the
Fine and dandy, but one thing bothers me in this. The spiel is that Veterans are entitled to receive home mortgages at 100% of their home's value. This sounds good, perhaps, on the surface, but isn't this where the housing industry got into the situation that burst the bubble a few years back? It can be a risky situation to borrow at 100% of your homes' value.
At any rate, good deal or bad, why is this constantly coming my way? I'm not a veteran. How did I get on their mailing list as such and why in the world do they mail out so many of these solicitations?
Are they trying to burn out my shredder?
I might sound upset by all these junk mail deceptions and schemes, but I really aren't. These things just go from mailbox to shredder. Doesn't take much of my time, but I feel I am doing my patriotic duty because all this junk mail is probably the only thing keeping the U. S. Postal Service afloat.