Want to Get Rich Quick?

It could cost you plenty.

The offer may come by phone, mail, or computer, but the message is the same: You’ll get rich quick, receive high returns with a low risk, and should invest right now. But U.S. Postal Inspectors caution: “Watch out!”
 
Investment opportunities, or “get rich quick” schemes, are a favorite of fraudsters. Whether they’re selling securities, oil wells, or gold coins, fraudulent promoters will try to get you to invest your money--and lots of it. The only thing you can rely on? You won’t get anything back.
 
Phony investment brokers market to a specific consumer base--older Americans--who want to secure their financial future.

Learn how to protect yourself from fraud--
in the mail, via the
Internet, or by phone.

Americans lose more than $40 billion a year to telemarketing fraud. And the scams show no signs of slowing down. Postal Inspectors responded to 80,000 mail fraud complaints in 2003. This year they have already responded to 78,000.
 
Older Americans are seeing their “nest eggs” and retirement funds shrink. With low returns on income-generating investments and rising costs for medical insurance, prescription drugs, and general expenses, they’re even more vulnerable to scams. Every year, thousands of people lose anywhere from a few dollars to their life savings to swindlers.
 
Phony investment firms might try several different avenues to reach you. Often they send enticing or official-looking mailings that urge you to call. More recently, they’ve gone to e-mails, which make it even easier to reach millions of potential victims.

 

U.S. Postal Inspectors warn consumers, “Don’t fall for investment scams--you'll lose your life savings.”

  • Take your time in making a decision to invest—don’t rush into a “high-profit, low risk” offer.

  • Get all information in writing before you consider investing.

  • Check out the firm by calling the Better Business Bureau, state Attorney General, or consumer protection agency.

  • List your phone number on the National Do Not Call registry at 1-888-382-1222 or at www.donotcall.gov.

  • Read these publications from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service:

Consumer Fraud By Phone or Mail (or text-only)
Publication 281

Fraude al consumidor... ¡ teléfono o por correo! (o solamente texto)
Publicacion 281-S

Consumer & Business Guide to Preventing Mail Fraud (or text-only)
Publication 300-A

Guia del Consumidor y Comercial para la Prevencion del Fraude Postal (o solamente texto)
Publicacion 300-A-S

 

Remember--“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”

Postal Inspectors are working to stem the trend. Swindlers who use the telephone, mail, and computer to defraud America’s consumers are getting their own wake-up call.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service joined with the Department of Justice, FBI, FTC, state Attorneys General, and Canadian authorities in a multi-agency round-up of fraudsters for Operation Roaming Charge. Postal Inspectors conducted 75 investigations across the country. Forty-three of the cases were domestic, and 32 were part of a cross-border initiative with Canadian authorities. Postal Inspectors arrested 64 suspects, and the cases resulted in 64 convictions, with sentences ranging from 5 months to 12 1/2 years. Nearly one million victims suffered losses exceeding $650 million.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dialing for Dollars DVD Cover

 

 

Got questions? Read the FAQs about the Dialing for Dollars campaign and telemarketing fraud.

 

 

"Operation Roaming Charge/Dialing for Dollars" press release.

 

 

 

Mail Fraud

Postal Inspectors work to protect postal customers from misuse of the mail.

Inspectors place special emphasis on mail fraud scams related to advance fees, boiler rooms, health care, insurance, investments, deceptive mailings and other consumer frauds, especially when they target older Americans or other susceptible groups.

 


 

Dialing for Dollars poster
View and print this poster in English or en Espanol. (Text-only in English, Espanol.)

 

Americans lose more than $40 billion a year to telemarketing fraud. Postal Inspectors responded to 80,000 mail fraud complaints in 2003. This year they've already responded to 78,000.

Inspection Service Seal