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Mail Order Scams To Watch Out For
This is a recently updated piece on mail order scams that I have posted as a public service on my web site at http://www.peacemovies.com/makemoney.html
Mail order scams to watch out for:
by John Thielking
What about all of those money making offers that you receive in the mail, promising that you will earn a million dollars within a year and claiming that the US government provides billions of dollars in subsidies to make these money making schemes possible? Well, these are almost all of them schemes telling you how you can make your fortune using mail order/direct mail selling info products just like the sellers of the schemes themselves do. While the initial advertisements claim that no money is required for these schemes and they often brag about how the founder of the scheme was so broke when they started that they couldn't feed their kids or some such thing, you actually are required to come up with at least $500 for your initial mailing of 1000 pieces of junk mail to an opportunity seekers mailing list. Then, in addition to utilizing the response boosting tips included in the manual you just ordered from the company for $35, you have to be an expert copywriter if you expect to get any response at all. I have found that even the already prepared mailers of programs such as Lotto Magic don't convert responses into profit making sales right away.
The government subsidy mentioned in some of the ads refers to the US govt bailout of the post office, which is currently running a deficit. You don't get to personally profit from this "subsidy" unless you are successful at direct mail marketing. You can forget about simply filling out forms and collecting checks. There is no such program. The names of some of these schemes include: Time Is Money Reports, Simple Forms by P.R. Forms Company, Leo Scopes Company, The 99 Day Bailout Program, Bill Hebden's Getting Your First Million (with the longest delivery time -- over 10 weeks -- of any of the programs that actually deliver something in return for your money), Automated Derivative Master Template, Euro Trust AMG, Grace & Co, Illuminati Financial (according to one blog post this company takes 6 months to deliver their product. My personal experience is that it took them the maximum allowed 8 weeks to send me their stuff.) and The Secret Handshake Society. The Secret Handshake Society seems to be different in that they claim you will be specifically trading commodities, but then they come up with the dead horse of the govt subsidizes the business they are running argument, again, code words for "this is a mail order scheme". I have actually received the advertised products from all of these except F Rivers Marketing. There was also a program that promises $15,000 per month for mailing two letters. Even with this program, there is no escaping the mailing of thousands of letters to make money --- you simply mail two letters; one to the mailing list company and one to the letter shop and they do all the work for you --- still at a rate of 50-80 cents per letter mailed.
So far, the only scam that doesn't send you anything in return for your $39 is F Rivers Marketing, 645 W 9th Street #110-805, Los Angeles, CA 90015-1640. They claim that you can make money by mailing letters. This scheme might actually work in real life if you were remailing letters received in bulk from overseas that were destined for US addresses. The cost of mailing a one ounce letter overseas runs about $2 each, but the cost of shipping a bulk lot of letters from overseas is much less per letter. Now your task is simply to find a company that wants to send lots of letters from overseas to US addresses. Why F Rivers Marketing doesn't deliver on their promise is a real mystery since I suspect that their program would actually work, unlike the others, which are pie in the sky offers.
Of particular note are Grace & Co and Illuminati Financial. They both claim that their special techniques will boost response rates to direct mail offers by 300%-400%, increasing profits by up to 1500%. Grace & Co claimed in their manual that they used their special technique (hand addressing envelopes) to get me to buy their product (which they did not). Illuminati Financial did not use their confidential technique to sell me their product either. Considering that a run of the mill 2% response rate for a $35 product will cause the direct mailer to lose money or at best break even, I can't imagine why these two companies aren't actually using the techniques they claim are so great. To the credit of Illuminati Financial, their general technique is mentioned, kind of, in a passage that is available here (http://entrepreneurs.about.com/od/salesmarketing/a/10directmailideas.htm) for free on the internet. Since I have posted this info, I have received some offers that appear to be hand addressed. Only one was really hand addressed. The rest were laser printed in cursive font and still had the bar codes and mail sorting codes on the address, totally fake.
I guess the real secret to making lots of money with direct mail is to do as the politicians do and say anything that sounds good (as in too good to be true) to make the sale. Then find the mailing list that I am on apparently, called "suckers only", (for people who have responded to five or more offers in their lifetimes) and mail to that list exclusively. I can tell that I am on at least 3 different mailing lists judging by the unique typos or omissions in my address on each piece of mail.
Post Script: The one that got away. The best program for working at home that I have found is the offer put up by the Zaken Corp in Chatsworth CA. They give you some instructions on how to find deals where companies with unwanted merchandise will agree to sell the stuff for a price determined by a formula that the Zaken Corp gives you in the instructions. I found several companies that would have given me deals worth over $100k in profit, but unfortunately the Zaken Corp dropped the ball at their end. Not one of at least 5 deals went through (they never found a buyer at their end). I suppose it wouldn't be too bad if it turned out that I should have kept trying and eventually get the Zaken Corp to close 10% of the deals that I present to them. But I didn't have that much patience. At my end I was closing 80% or better for people who agreed to sell their stuff for the initial offer price so I didn't understand why Zaken Corp couldn't close at their end. This was in 2005. A key to finding deals was to use a special phone book that has nationwide listings of companies that have more than 1 million dollars in sales per year. Call ATT and ask them for it. That is probably better than using the same 800 number directory that the Zaken Corp recommends that everyone else is using.
2-18-2014 Follow Up On Zaken Corp:
This company is now in the loser category along with all the rest. I sent them a check for $50 so that they would send me a replacement instruction manual so I could figure out how to try yet again to submit samples to try to get them to sell. I figured it might work this time because I had received an offer for how to get free merchandise from another source. It turns out that that other source didn't pan out anyway (the quantities of free stuff I could get were too small or non-existent). But the bottom line about Zaken Corp is that they sent me NOTHING after I sent them my $50. I called them to complain and they claimed that they had sent the materials already. Maybe they had sent them to my old address when I specifically told them both my new and old address in my correspondence. It doesn't matter now. Their scheme doesn't work and half the time they don't send you anything after you send them your money. So don't send them any money either.
Another loser opportunity: American Homebuyer Associates, 1101 D Thorpe Lane #430, San Marcos, TX 78666 or 9433 Bee Cave Road Suite 2110, Austin, TX 78733. http://www.freebonus.com/your-name plus unique password given on postcard. These scammers offer to sell you a course for $99 on how to make money finding short sales. They claim that no license or real estate experience is required to do their program. This is a big lie that could land you in jail if you are not careful (as in don't even try this program even if you have the required licenses). For starters, most any type of real estate transaction that you participate in requires that you have a real estate license or the assistance of a person with a real estate license. Sometimes you also have to be bonded. In the case of finding short sales in CA, you need to be a real estate broker. Even brokers are not allowed to charge the "junk fees" that participants in the AHA program are charging.
See http://www.dre.ca.gov/pdf_docs/ca/ConsumerAlert_ShortSalesUpdate.pdf for an update on the situation regarding so-called Short Sale Negotiators.
An even bigger loser: The Secret Handshake Society. For your $5 you get a booklet that tells you how to make it big selling info products. That part is a bargain considering that most companies charge $35 for similar books. The rip off and scam is the red envelope that comes with the booklet. Inside the red envelope is an offer to "do all the work for you" that sells for $50. For your $50 you receive 9 expertly prepared booklets, probably not spell checked just like the one for $5, on how to make big money fast, plus prepared advertising copy to sell the booklets that is promised to pull well when you send it to prospects, plus you get the resale rights to all of the above. At least two of these booklets are complete scams on their face: A booklet on how to make a genuine diamond that is worth more than $250k for a few hundred dollars and a booklet on Real Self Liquidating Loans. For a bit of background on the outright criminal nature of these "loans", check out : http://www.quatloos.com/scams/selfliqd.htm. For background on synthetic diamonds (which are the only kind that man knows how to make) check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_diamond . Note that a synthetic diamond is easy to spot and there is no way that you would get $250k for any amount of synthetic diamonds that you could hand carry, much less produce yourself in your garage. The only way that I can see that the average Joe can use to produce diamonds of any kind is to use dynamite, hopefully in an open field.
A third booklet tells you how to get a Platinum American Express Card with bad credit. Only someone with bad credit would need a credit card that has a $450 per year membership fee. There is also a report on how to get a Swiss bank account. Using Google to research this a bit it turns out that getting a Swiss bank account is more trouble than it is worth. The Swiss anti-moneylaundering laws require you to fill out more paperwork and provide more documentation than it takes to apply for food stamps in the U.S.. I'll just take my check to my local U.S. bank and deposit it there, thank you very much. They don't care where it comes from.
Somewhere in the series of 9 booklets is the secret outlined in the initial offer for $5 where you can earn $100,000 in your first month. But even that figure is a testimonial and probably not representative of what you can earn. Considering the quality of almost 1/2 of the booklets, I am not willing to risk my last $50, which I already promised people I would be spending on Peacemovies.com, on these scams.
A Still Bigger Loser (they just keep coming):
Profit Max / Top Level Marketing, P.O. Box 376, Forest Grove, OR 97116 Phone: 503-357-2119 e-mail: profitmax.monitor [at] gmail.com. This program promises to make you $67,500 or more by participating in a 2 level gifting program that the mailer claims also involves The Monitor sending out 2000 mailers on your behalf with a guaranteed response rate of 1%. You send $200 to Dealer #1, $100 to Dealer #2 and $97 to The monitor (Top Level Marketing). The problem with this program is that the expenses required to run the program just don't add up, if it is legit. When I tried out a direct mail campaign with Lotto Magic, they charged me $400 for 500 or 1000 letters to be sent out automatically on my behalf. Top Level Marketing is only charging $97 for 2000 mailers, which works out to about 5 cents per mailer. This would be unsustainable if you were handing out the 4 page mailer they sent to me on the street corner and certainly would not cover postage of any kind.
There are a few more things to watch out for. A company called Famous Characters sends out an offer with "BBB Accredited Business" proudly displayed on the outside of the envelope. I checked and this business is not Accredited by the Better Business Bureau and furthermore the BBB has a policy of not allowing their ratings of any business to be used in any advertising. I sent a complaint to the BBB about this, they filed it, but got no response from the company. Also, over the past few years since I started writing this page I have sent for a few offers charging $35 for various get rich quick and/or shadow banking schemes. The latest offer is from Zero Dark Dollar, PO Box 781029, Los Angeles, CA 90016. The gist of my complaint is this: Every single offer that I have sent away for that had a return address located in Los Angeles, CA and/or Beverly Hills, CA has not sent me ANYTHING in response to my sending them the $35. I have received one unsolicited refund of $35 during this time from an outfit located in Los Angeles, CA. I would highly recommend NOT sending ANY money to any outfit in Los Angeles, CA or Beverly Hills, CA, especially if the offer is promising you that you can make millions by simply opening a bank account or offering lists of US Government programs that give away money or other such nonsense. To be fair, I have received the booklets for US Govt giveaway programs (from addresses other than Los Angeles) but these too turned out to be worthless. The rich people listed in the booklets that I wrote to never send any money and I don't qualify for any of the government programs. That is all for now. Good luck in your quest to find easy money!
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