Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What you need to know about Mail Order Fraud

When the mails are used to intentionally misrepresent a product or service it constitutes Mail Fraud. The Royal Mail Postal Inspection Service is charged with investigating violations of law, usually in response to consumer complaints. The best way to protect yourself from Mail Fraud is to recognize that it is fraud and not become involved. This is not easy to do because of the attractive wording in the deceptive ads. Anything that sounds too good to believe is suspect. Medical formulas and gadgets that make insane promises are probably insane and you should stay away from them. Especially be cautious regarding some of the thousands of different weight loss products and overnight cures. Never purchase land through a mail order ad unless you or your personal representative has seen the land, to determine if it is as represented and that the value is there. If the sales person has shown you the property report you can cancel your purchase agreement within seven days. If no report was shown to you before signing an agreement you have the right to cancel out within two years. There are a number of insurance frauds floating through the mails. Requests to sign blank insurance forms, last chance bargain offers, payments in advance and cash payment requirements could indicate a con artist at work. Of course, most everyone has received chain letters sometime in their lifetime and if you are in the mailorder business you should get several every day as a minimum. Chain letters are illegal
and do not work anyway. Need we say more? We've all seen the ads offering job placement and job opportunities. Most of them are legitimate but some are 100% non existent or complete misrepresentations. Do not spend your money for the required fee until you have checked with your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Trading Standards Office. Then there are those who promise huge profits without risk in commodities, stocks, oil, gold, silver or coins, through the mail or over the telephone. There are hundreds of very fine investment opportunities offered but you can't risk your hard earned cash, or in some cases people have lost their life savings to mail order or telephone swindlers. Several of the larger, well recognized firms have gone bankrupt through internal fraud and management manipulations carrying their client's investments right down the drain with them. Always use caution and investigate the company thoroughly before you put up one penny. Another favourite of the crooks is home improvements. Quite often you never see them after you sign a contract and pay them a deposit to do the work. If they sends you brochures through the post and the work they perform is not as represented by the information it could constitute mail fraud. Get estimates from local service companies to determine if the price of the mail order offering is reasonable and in line. Check the references of the organization. The laws, regulations and paperwork involved in setting up franchise operations are horrendous. Various large distributorship are equally difficult to establish but generally do not have to conform to near as many controls and regulations. On the other hand, some mail order distributorship and wholesale outlets require very little effort and the home company has little control over their activities. If profits promised are unrealistic or if the product or service is secondary to selling the franchise or distributorship, proceed with caution.

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