Inspection Service Home Page NEWS RELEASE
National Public Information Officer

October 1, 2010

Contact: Postal Inspector Denise N. Backus

Postal Inspectors Deliver Fraud Education to the Nation

This week the U.S. Postal Inspection Service will begin mailing brochures to every household in the country with information on the warning signs of fraud. This widespread consumer-education initiative was made possible by money collected in fines and damages from criminals convicted of running fraudulent schemes.

Every day, con artists try to victimize millions of American consumers. Successful cons can seriously harm victims and their families, who may lose their life savings to a well-plotted scam. That’s why Postal Inspectors—also working with the Federal Trade Commission— want to educate the public: Fraud is the one crime that requires victims’ active participation. If you can learn the warning signs, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim. For example:

  • If you’re unsure about a financial offer, keep a record of it, including all mail and envelopes, and get guarantees in writing before acting on an offer.
  • Don’t give out your credit card or bank account numbers unless you’re sure of who you’re dealing with and what you’ll be getting.
  • Resist high-pressure sales tactics. Insist on time to think and discuss offers with trusted friends, family members, or advisors.
  • Ask promoters for a call-back number. Respectable companies allow customers time to think about an offer.

Postal Inspectors investigate any crime that involves the U.S. Mail—whether it originated in the mail, by telephone, or on the Internet. Using the mail in any way to further a criminal act constitutes mail fraud. Chief Postal Inspector Guy J. Cottrell reminds postal customers, “We’re out to stop criminals—and the American public can help. Once you learn about fraud, you can avoid being scammed.”

If you believe you’ve been targeted by fraud via the mail, report it online to Postal Inspectors using the Mail Fraud Complaint form, or call Postal Inspectors at 1-877-876-2455. You can report foreign lottery scams to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or visit

About the U.S. Postal Inspection Service
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is one of the oldest federal law enforcement agencies in the country. For more than 200 years, Postal Inspectors have protected the U.S. Postal Service, secured the nation’s mail system, and ensured public trust in the mail. To learn more, visit


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