A while ago, I received a letter. Although it was technically addressed to me, it wasn't addressed to a name I use frequently, much less often. When I opened it, I was told that
AS SEEN ON OPRAH & 20/20
MAKE $250,000 IN WEEKS!!
Yeah, those two exclamation points? Included for free.
The letter was three pages, detailing how, for $199 or less, I could send junk mail to 200 people and through some level of ROAR, 7.5% of them would send $1 to each of the six names on a list in the mail. Those 15 then do the same thing and send out 200 letters, hopefully with a 7.5% return rate. Do the numbers and you'll receive $813,000 IN WEEKS.
How kind that the letter includes an advertisement for where you can get a list of 500 names for only $75! What a deal. Fortunately, that goes in reverse, and now that I know my name and address is in their database, I can get it out. But that's an aside.
What isn't an aside is the fact that the NAMES and ADDRESSES (and some lack of intelligence and abundance of laziness) of these six people are in the letter; anyone with an interesting enough name on the list is findable. Anyone with an internet connection and browser and FIGURE OUT WHO YOU ARE.
So, let's check out these people, shall we?
Hello, Makesha Cummins. You may be a moron. Googling for your name, we find your facebook page and discover you like Usher, you're 36 years old, looking for work as an au pair, might be overweight, and that you fell for the acai berry scam, too. How'd the ponzi scheme work out for you, Makesha? Recall, you let me know that you live at 4650 Jenson Lane, Colorado Springs, CO 80922.
Hello, Duane Carlyle of 1709 Southdale Drive, Mattoon IL 61938. You have a more common name, making finding you more difficult, but you are 59. Please say hello to Janice for me. I see that you live in the boonies.
Linda Thompson of 312 Carolina Nooseneck Road, Richmond RI 02898, I am really assuming you are not the singer, actress, attorney with Bill Clinton conspiracy theories, or the mayor of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Wow, that would be most unfortunate if the mayor sent me a ponzi scheme letter. Think of the scandal with that one! Ah, well, shit, you ARE the "business coach and mentor [who] assists serious entrepreneurs in building a profitable online business with multiple incomes streams." Do ponzi schemes and potential mail fraud count as multiple income streams? Oh, and here's your phone number 401-539-2962 and your email ThompsonBrennan.Linda8@gmail.com.
Nelson Blanco of 8265 Old Forge Road, Southaven, MS 38671, you manage to hide among the other Nelson Blancos, much more readily than Linda does, actually. However, it's clear that you've earned 2 stars on your goal to "We don't want a job. We just want to be a help and to build a great organization of distributors," meaning you don't actually produce anything, you just moosh things around.
Virgil, Virgil, Virgil. I would have guessed a name like yours would have been SO easy to find. Turns out, "Virgil Porter"s have been around since at least the mid 1800s. Wow. However, with your address of 6051 61st Ave SE Lavey WA 98513, you gave a little more information than you probably intended. Was the spelling of "Lavey" when you live in "Lacey" intentional? Or is that how you track junk mailers? You have three cars, eh? Is that one under a blue tarp on blocks? Do you go running along Thornbury at all? Of course, with a name like Virgil F. Porter Jr, your bowling prowess will not go unnoticed (nice scores of 114,178,182, you'd beat me two of three times). Way to go with that Governor's Award in 2002.
Gina Crenshaw, your address being 5656 S US Hwy 421, Kirklin IN 46050 (here, here's the link to your place, you're really close to the Assembly of God, I note), you almost managed to sneek through, despite the not-so-common name. However, almost is not the same as not-findable, and you're a 42 year old finance executive. Does that mean you work at a bank? OH WAIT! YOU USED A SCHOOL ADDRESS FOR YOUR PONZI SCHEME. What the hell are you thinking? Are you REALLY that clueless?
So, all of you sent your address to a complete stranger. Or, you're all surprised at the dollar bills being sent to you, I guess.
In really, 30 minutes of searching online, without spending any money, and I have enough info to mock you. Why would you willingly do that?
I can't help but wonder if these chain letters are really just marketing materials from the data warehouses as an alternative revenue stream. Why sell to hundreds of businesses when you can sell to thousands of consumers?