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Prompt Attention Requested $25,000 CASH GRAND PRIZE




Throw this document out and you could be forfeiting your chance at the $25,000 prize from this notice”


This is the opening of one piece of mail targeted to elderly homeowners. I suspect that the criteria are even more narrow. Perhaps anyone who has a pension check from a major company, has investments, or a healthy bank account.


These mailers come in droves, every single day. The special notice above was actually a push for funds for an animal rescue place in Chicago. In theory. Who knows what the scam really is.  They set these things up so a non-answer becomes a “please send me one of each and here’s my credit card”. All options regarding money are in tiny print, which I can barely read with contacts. The addressee has to paste stamps, sign their name, and check boxes. The main thread of the mail is the SWEEPSTAKES! In actuality, I wonder if there is a sweepstakes at all.


TSCL (The Senior Citizen’s League) mail comes in a very official looking envelope with a return address to a P.O. Box in Washington, DC.  It begins: “The 2018 Social Security Recipient Appeal to the 115th Congress” Large letters.


This is page one. Notice that even if you are on a fixed income and cannot make a “supporter-level” donation, they will let you give them a few bucks, even if you go hungry for a day.


It’s not until page 3 that they actually tell you what the name of the place is. Otherwise, it looks like it came from Social Security. Finally, on page 4, Art “Coop” Cooper urges you again to donate.  

Then there are an entire group of snake oil salesmen, with names like Independent Vital Life, Health Science, and Staying Healthy for Life. Independent Vital Life says “look at all these issues our product fixes!!”

What person over 75 doesn’t have a little vertigo now and then? Trouble hearing? Hates their hearing aids? This appears to be magic. How do they do this? Read the incredible stories of how people threw their hearing aids in the trash, or how our product has helped stopped Elizabeth’s progressive hearing loss! Finally, on page 15, after mentioning their product 41 times IN ALL CAPS, they give you the price.  

The “trial” version is only $40.00 plus $7.99 shipping. Look, they even take checks by phone.  Convenient for older people who don’t use the internet. How thoughtful of them. There are 15 “Ear Specialists’ who don’t want you to miss out on the best things in life! RISK FREE!

Look, all these things are natural. Not drugs. A combination of pineapple, cayenne, cinnamon,  that can relieve everything from varicose veins, hemorrhoids, improve memory, stop ringing in your ears, relieve pain, and invigorate circulation. You thought you were just going to hear better.


There are a whole host of these companies. They would not be spending the money to send these mailers out if they were not reaping rewards. During a week when the national discussion focuses on regulating social media, we might want to think about making it a little more difficult to swindle our parents and grandparents out of money they saved for their entire lives. Should they have options? Absolutely. Should we keep these companies from attempting to trick folks into believing in the Fountain of Youth? Absolutely.


Committee to Elect Cynthia Reinert
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