JUNK MAIL REDUX: Feel the Rage

mail-6Many of you know the adventure we’ve been through over the last three years to reduce/stop the junk mail that had been inundating my 86-year old father. At one point he was receiving up to 100 pieces of mail a day and often was duped into making donations to some very questionable “charities” and other organizations. In addition to having all his mail directed to our home, we made calls, sent emails, mailed letters and sent messages on Facebook to over 800 of these groups to remove him from their mailing lists. While the mail has not completely stopped, we now only receive 1-6 pieces of junk mail for him a day at our home.

The other thing we did (not entirely because of the mail situation, but I won’t lie and say it wasn’t part of the reason) was we moved him to a new home–AND we did not give anyone (including the U.S. Postal Service) a forwarding address.

He has lived there over a year and a half and I’ve not seen but a very occasional piece of junk mail that I’ve had to “intercept” from his pile. Well, yesterday that changed. There were three pieces of mail from some of the most nefarious of junk mail scammers that prey on the elderly and anyone with slight cognitive impairment. I was livid–and I managed to slip them into a bag and remove them from my father’s apartment.


I didn’t mention it to my father. His short-term memory isn’t really good enough anymore for me to have an impact–with either this new mail or to remind him of what we went through to stop what he was being buried under in the not-too-distant past. I just had to RAGE in my own mind at the people who use this type of “marketing” and then share that with my wife (who made the majority of the aforementioned phone calls).

Today I called two of those organizations to have his new address removed from their databases. I was lucky in that these were two that actually had phone numbers that were available with a quick internet search. Of course, I got a recording and had to leave a message, but at least there was a number to call. I can only hope they honor my request and stop pestering my father.



Again, if you have elderly parents or grandparents–even if they don’t have the slightest of cognitive impairments–get a good look at their mail whenever you can. Monitor it regularly and look for the junk that looks inflammatory, persuasive, preys on their fears (especially about Social Security and Medicare) or has an “official look” (made to look like an invoice or an official government document).

I cannot express how angry these people make me. I cannot express how exasperated I am with the Direct Mail Industry. They need to do a much better job policing their own. If not, the U.S. Postal Service or state’s attorney generals or the attorney general of the United States need to do more to protect it’s elderly citizens. I wish there was a way to fund and build a wall that would stop this crap from getting to our seniors–because right now I feel like I’m trying to hold off the invasion of Normandy with a slingshot.

~ by kipwkoelsch on February 4, 2019.

9 Responses to “JUNK MAIL REDUX: Feel the Rage”

  1. Reblogged this on Drowning in Junk Mail and commented:
    Kip has been fighting against junk mail for 3 years. He has knocked it down to a low roar at his house. But they found his father again. At his new apartment.

    • Thank you for spreading the word. It’s so easy for the elderly to be preyed upon by even mildly manipulative mail or phone calls.

  2. Thank you for your website. I have just started getting this type of information and am glad to know that it’s a scam.

    • I’m happy to help. Always read these mailings carefully–be even more suspicious of anything asking you for money.

  3. […] Junk Mail Redux: A blog about getting rid of junk mail for her father […]

  4. My 93 year old mother is in assisted living. Her short term memory is shot. When I visit her twice a week, I usually take my backpack with me and when she’s not looking, or is in another room, I grab as much of her mail as I can – and stuff what she’s already opened into my backpack. Last summer as I was looking at her checking account online, I began to make notes on each organization she was sending money to – a mix of genuine charitable organizations mixed in with a bunch of right wing organizations (Tea Party) and scams (“Save Social Security). One, by one, I went to those websites and told them to take her off their mailing list. In some cases I flat out lied and told them she had died. Ok, so where they really going to check that? I did the DMAchoice thing. I kept a list in Excel indicating the name of each organization and when I contacted them, or if I was able to. I compared that to a full list I made today of all the “charitable checks” she wrote in 2018 (for tax purposes). I could see the date I had contacted an organization and then compared that date with the date of the last check she ever wrote them. It would appear what I did is mostly working. But yet she probably averages about 10 pieces of junk mail a day. That’s peanuts compared to what your father got, but still, I’d rather she not get any, due to her memory issues.

    • My dad’s dementia contributed to the problem as well. I’m almost to the point where the checkbook will need to come under my (power of attorney) control just to be safe. Be vigilant as a trickle of mail can quickly turn into a torrent.

  5. As I am in the same category as your father,only I still have my memory at the age of 89. I have to date this year received 46 requests for donations.
    I know there are good charitable org. out there I just discontinue ALL of them, as I can’t be looking up which are scams and which are not.
    I just wish there was a way to discontinue ALL of this type of mail, especially to seniors, who are most vulnerable!

    • You’re lucky you still have your wits about you, Arnie. At one point my dad was probably getting 46 requests a day–and sometimes he was sending checks to all of them. You can opt out of some mail by going to the Direct Marketing Association website and following their links to do so. The issue really is two-fold after that. If you donate to anyone you will continue to receive mail not only from that group but others they mail sell their list to–or via the company that handles the actual mailings and processing. Second, the opt-out has to cover every possible premutation of your name and address–including misspellings–or you could still receive mail. In the end, we had to move my dad and tell no one about a forwarding address. The mail we were receiving for him at our house took us over a thousand calls to cut back. Now (more than two years later) we receive 1-6 pieces of mail for him per day.

      Please do what you can to help inform other seniors you may know. I’m afraid the government agencies are a poor substitute for all of us helping each other combat these scammers.

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