Learn how to recognize mail scams, file a complaint when appropriate and protect your personal and financial information.
Consumers’ mailboxes are regularly stuffed with unsolicited mail. Most of it is harmless but pesky junk mail offers – but there is a risk it could be a mail scam.
How to Spot a Mail Scam
Mail scammers will try to get your attention in various ways – ranging from exciting offers to intimidating threats. Regardless of their message, the goal of a mail scam is to get you to either send money or provide your personal information.
Below are common warning signs of a mail scam:
- A claim that you have been specially selected
- A request that you “confirm your personal information”
- A request for payment by means other than credit card – including cash, gift card, wire transfer or private courier
- Use of suspicious official-looking documents or fake government seals
- A request for your credit card or other payment mechanism for “shipping and handling”
- Use of threats if you don’t comply – even the threat of arrest
If you recognize any of these warning signs, stop reading and do your homework. If you suspect it is a scam, file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General.
Learn more about tactics used by all scammers on our How to Spot and Avoid Common Scams page.
Although not all junk mail is a scam, you can be proactive about decreasing junk mail in order to reduce your risk of being scammed.
Remove Your Name from Mailing Lists
To help reduce the amount of junk mail you receive, you can remove yourself from some mailing lists. To do so, register with the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service. There is a processing fee of $5 to remove yourself for a period of five years.
Opt-Out of Credit Offers
You can also limit the number of pre-approved credit offers you receive by removing your name from the marketing lists of consumer credit reporting companies. Visit OptOutPreScreen.com to learn more on how to request to opt-out of offers of credit or insurance. You have the choice of opting out of receiving offers for five years or opting out of receiving them permanently.
Contact Your Credit Card Company and Bank
If any of your credit card companies send random-issue convenience checks, request in writing to be removed from that mailing list.
Contact your bank about its privacy and information policies. If they provide your account information to third parties, you maybe able to request to opt-out of this practice.