Hate Mail

One thing I’ve grown to hate in my last 9-years in the USA, and increasingly in Austin as I’ve lived at the same address for 7-years, is the scam and fake mail that arrives at regular intervals.

There are those “official” looking envelopes that include seals, official government like crests and demand attention and immediate opening and often a response. I got a letter today from the Worth Finance Corp. They apparently have offices all over central Texas. They at least got my information from Transunion Credit, who pre-screened me.

Right at the top of the letter it says “It’s true, You are holding a real check for $800.00” and goes on empathise with me and my need to be ready for the “expenses the new school year can bring”. Which only goes to show they know absolutely nothing about me.

19895_10151794977230915_1445898368_nThe letter, with attached $800 check, helpfully included pictures of good looking kids. Inside the horror of the letter and the scam is revealed. You can borrow $800, at a staggering 81.26% interest rate.

Which means it will cost you a minimum of $396 in interest almost half of what you borrowed. If you pay everything on time, you’ll pay back $1194. This is total daylight robbery at a time when interest rates are at record lows. The worst you can do from the credit union I use is 9.5% and I consider that 3x what I’d pay, and certainly for much more than $800.

These letters are no more than scams and fishing trips to lure poor, uneducated , the elderly and needy people in America into into doing something they wouldn’t otherwise do. The sorts of information in these letters includes details which are in most civilised societies considered private, like the amount of the mortgage you have on your house; the status of your insurance etc. In many cases the types of information included is not only private, but would be subject to data protection laws in the UK, Germany, France etc. Not just because it is private information, but exactly to stop this sort of high pressure scam and selling which can frighten those who don’t know better.

I would call Transunion at 1-888 567-8688 but took the risk of doing it via the web http://www.optoutprescreen.com – I’m also going to spend some time in the morning tracking down the CEO and send him/her a fake Cease and Desist letter with a fake crest on the envelope.

Author: Mark Cathcart

Formerly an Executive Director of Systems Engineering and a Senior Distinguished Engineer at Dell. Prior to that, an IBM Distinguished Engineer working for the Systems Group in NY and Austin. I'm currently "retired until further notice".

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