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The Rape of the Elderly

Mom is 93. I now help her with her mail. And the deluge of junk that she gets absolutely takes my breath away.

She still gets all sorts of Sweepstakes Scam Letters, which go straight into the recycle bin.

She still gets all sorts of solicitations from psychics and occult spcialists claiming to be able to "attract money and luck, become a winner, remove jinxes and negative energy, protect from bad, improve health and spirit, become powerful and irresistable, and revive sexual energy." Only $19.99 per magic energy crystal. Holy hqiz, people, get a life. These also get turned into insulation.

What disturbs me the most is the daily pile of solicitations for money from people claiming to represent political causes. Today's haul:

  • A solicitation from the Democratic National Committee, including letters from Madeline Albright and Nancy Pelosi, asking for money to support Obama and his programs.
  • A solicitation from the Senior Citizens' League in the form of a survey and scare letter about medical privacy issues. Please send emergency donations to make sure promised medicare benefits are protected, and not rationed.
  • A "SkyPost" letter from Thomas Cromwell of the "Benefit Security Coalition", asking for donations between $15 and $1000 to lobby for passage of the Cola Fairness Act of 2009.
  • A very disingenuous solicitation from the Senior Citizens' League asking for contributions to correct the (nonexistent) "Notch Benefit" discrepancy. The letter implies that contributors are helping lawmakers obtain a $5,000 lump-sum settlement. Mom gets several of these each month, and she's not even in the mythical "notch".
  • A solicitation from "RetireSafe" asking for contributions to help lobby for passage of the Social Security Benefit Protection Act. Contributions to this "citizens' lobby" are not even tax deductible. By their own declaration, only 16% of funds they gather is used for lobbying efforts.

This is one day's mail. To one 93-year-old, mildly senescent lady, who would haul out her checkbook for anyone if there weren't an advocate at her side telling her to keep her limited income to herself.

Most of the contributions to these marginally legal organizations go to line the pockets of the organizers, or to pay for additional solicitation. They are yanking money out of the pockets of the most vulnerable and least affluent section of our society with half-truths, outright lies and intimidation tactics. How this kind of financial rape can be condoned or allowed is beyond me. The problem is big enough that one voice can do little, but this one voice can do something; and it will not be silent.

Protect your elderly loved ones. Monitor their mail if you can, and help them keep their resources where they will do the most good - in their own bank accounts.

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Nov. 22nd, 2009 05:50 am (UTC)
damn scammers need to jump in a volcano x(
Nov. 22nd, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
You got any up there? Isn't Denali rumbling at all?
Nov. 22nd, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
Somedays It's not worth going out to the mail box.
Nov. 22nd, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
... or chewing through the leather straps.

Nov. 22nd, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
In cyberspace, apparently white-hat hackers and researchers have been working together to track botnets that spread e-mail and website spam and to shut them down.

Too bad you can't do that with snail mail yet...
Nov. 23rd, 2009 12:58 am (UTC)
Ever thought pf a rubberstamp with the expletive of your choice (or the phrase "Dawn take you all and be damned to you" with a red ink pad?
Nov. 23rd, 2009 03:05 am (UTC)
I used to have a set of "executive" rubber stamps that had things like "This is shyte!" and "No! F* you!". Great idea, but aye the return postage...
Nov. 23rd, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
My mother's mother had, on and off, the beginnings of Alzheimer's. I'm sure my mother would relate to your post, and there's a fair chance I'll be doing the same for her someday.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
Been there, done that!
My mother got bilked quite a few years ago by someone who claimed to be (and actually WAS) Harry Truman's son. He sent around a letter asking them to contribute to his organization that would prevent the abolition of Social Security.

It was a SCAM, and Harry was spinning in his grave. SHAME ON HIM!


The Old Wolf

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