4 seniors: Cutting down on junk mail

OKLAHOMA CITY – Millions of Americans are bombarded with junk mail each year, including many ‘mail fraud’ schemes.

Mail fraud can be tricky to detect because there are many different types of schemes out there that seem legitimate. Some of the most common mail scams targeting seniors include phony sweepstakes, foreign lotteries, free prize or vacation scams, fake checks, donation requests from charities that don’t exist, get-rich chain letters, work-at-home schemes and investment scams.

If your parent is getting mail that is asking fro money in exchange for free gifts or winnings, call the U.S. Postal Inspector Service at 877-876-2455. It can be difficult to get off these lists because criminals trade and sell mailing lists of people who they believe are susceptible to fraud.

To learn more about the different types of mail schemes, visit the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s website. You may also ask your  parents to sort through their mail, and if they want to donate to charities, check them out first.

In order to get your name off of legitimate mail-order business lists, you can contact the Direct Marketing Association, which offers a op-out service for $2 and is good for 10 years.

To put a stop to the credit card and insurance offers they get, call the consumer credit reporting industry opt-out service at 888-567-8688 or online.

Also, put home and cell phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry at 888-382-1222.