Do You Know The Warning Signs Of Fraud?

Do You Know The Warning Signs Of Fraud?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But the US Postal Service does!

John Potter, Postmaster General, and Guy J. Cottrell, Chief Postal Inspector, were kind enough to send me the two-sided glossy mailer below.  I can only assume that he sent the same mailer to all 126,000,000 households in the U.S.  Why would I be so special?

A quick check for the prices of such a brochure led me to  Guy could upload the design of the brochure, have it printed, folded, and shipped back to the US Postal Inspection Service.  The quote I built was based on 25,000 mailers, so I’m sure he got a bit more of a discount for 5,000 such orders of 25,000 brochures. quoted me $0.10 per mailer, but I didn’t use a snazzy design firm, sleazy a legal department to ensure that no one would be offended by the mailer, or a task force of well paid Postal Inspectors to build the list of fraud prevention tips and approve the design.  So, for giggles, let’s stick with the $0.10 per mailer fee.

Now, considering the USPS loses money every year, what cost should we assign to the shipping and delivery of such mailers.  You and I pay $0.44 cents per letter.  Considering they handle billions of 44-cent letters and still lose money, one could assign a price of $0.50 or $1.00 per brochure delivery.  In our review, we’ll stick with the cost of $0.44 to deliver each brochure.

So, ($0.44 + $0.10) * 125,000,000 American households is a cost (carry the 2) of $67,500,000.  So, the US Postal Inspection Service spent $67+ Million to warn us about fraud.  Sounds like a reasonable figure since the IRS spent $42 Million in 2008 to tell us that we were going to get a stimulus check.

And, to you and me in the real world that’s a lot of money.  But I’m sure it’s worth it!!  Let’s delve into their warnings and recommendations to see:

This brochure, which is paid for by money seized from criminals, is intended…

That’s nice, we certainly wouldn’t want to use that seized money to even up the USPS balance sheet


“Every day, con artists and scammers attempt to victimize millions of American consumers.  And when they succeed, these crimes can seriously affect the lives of their victims…”

No, really?!?! Thank you for telling me that crime affects victims.


“While mail is rarely used for fraud, we consider one incident one too many”

So, you’re sending me a $67 Million dollar mailer to let me know that mail is R.A.R.E.L.Y used for fraud.  Elevators rarely fail, but I don’t see Otis sending out mailers to warn elevator-riders!


“Never click a link inside an e-mail to visit a Web site… …It’s easy for a business to look legitimate online…”

Wait a minute?!?!  Has the USPS taken over the Internet?  Are they responsible for E-Mail?  Will E-Mail now take 3 days to arrive?!?!  Why is USPS getting involved with the Internet?


“Only 2% of reported identity theft occurs through the mail”

I get it now.  You’re sending the $67 Million dollar mailer to tell me that mail isn’t a big source of fraud.  Comprende!


And the brilliant tidbits keep coming and coming:  “Warning signs:  Sounds too good to be true.  Pressures you to act ‘right away’.  Guarantees success”


Thank you USPS for the giant waste of money.  I look forward to your next fiscal loss statement as you suck more Billions out of the taxpayers wallets!

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