The new mail-order catalog for New York and New Jersey, which debuted earlier this month, is full of mail-ordering advertisements, but it’s also packed with plenty of junk mail.
New York is home to more than 1.3 million people, according to the US Postal Service.
But the state has also experienced an explosion in the amount of junk mailed, with more than 5.5 million pieces of mail sent to addresses in New Jersey last year, according the Postal Service’s mail tracking program.
“The mail is getting more and more expensive,” says Scott Ragan, executive director of New York Communities for Change, a nonprofit group that works to improve the quality of the mail and improve public services.
“We’ve seen a huge increase in junk mail since the Affordable Care Act took effect, and we see it as a major issue for our communities.”
So, how do you spot a mail ad?
“We try to find ways to highlight them, but sometimes we’ll get lucky and they’re actually legitimate,” Ragan says.
“That’s when we’ll find out that they’re advertising for a legitimate product or service.”
He also recommends avoiding the same mailing address multiple times in a row, or to avoid having the same address on multiple lists.
“There’s a good chance that if you have the same mail address, you’re probably not going to get a good response,” he says.
Here are some tips on how to spot a mailbox ad. 1.
Don’t be fooled by the banner.
If you find an ad for an ad in the New York Post, you should immediately stop reading the rest of the ad, says Michael Schoenberg, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan’s Marketing and Advertising Program.
“This is a pretty big warning sign,” he explains.
“If you see a banner with a headline like, ‘We’re here to serve you,’ or, ‘Sign up now,’ it’s probably a scam.”
“It’s like, whoa, we’re not selling a product,” says Schoenberger.
“I don’t know why you would think that, and I don’t think that people who are looking to buy stuff do.”
In fact, if you find a mail-ordered item in the mail, chances are the person you’re trying to sell it to has already paid for the service.
So, don’t assume that a mailer is offering a legitimate deal.
“It can just be a scam,” says Ragan.
If your ad is too long, “You might just get a scammer,” says Dr. Paul Meehan, a clinical assistant professor of marketing at the College of the Holy Cross.
“They might say, ‘Here’s the ad for the new shoe, and here’s the discount coupon.'”
Look for the first item that appears on the ad.
Most mailers are trying to appear as legitimate.
If the first line of text says, “Your mail is for delivery to: Address” or “Please provide your full name and address to receive the order,” you’re good to go.
If there’s an asterisk (*) in the middle of the text, this means the mailer doesn’t really want to send your mail to you.
The only exception to this rule is if the mail is already in your mailbox, says Schulman.
If it’s in your home mailbox, a home delivery fee will apply.
If an ad says, simply click on the box to send to, but don’t click on “No” when asked to verify the address, it’s a scam, Ragan warns.
Don.e the check.
The Postal Service won’t charge you for a check, unless you’ve been approved to use it, says Rago.
“Most checks are for $20,” he tells me.
But if the check is for $10 or less, it can take up to 24 hours to process.
So if you’re unsure whether a check is legitimate, Rago recommends calling the postal office to verify.
“You can’t just sign on with your name and number,” says Meehans.
“A check is a form of ID.
It’s not a debit card, so it’s hard to get the check on your account.”
Don the envelope.
If someone signs the check, it doesn’t have to be addressed to you, says Meeshan.
It could be an envelope with a name like “Meehan Family Fund,” which is what you’d expect from an envelope that comes from the Meegans.
It might also be an “Meeshan Family” envelope, in which case you’ll need to make sure that the envelope is genuine.
And the envelopes are likely to be empty, so be sure to check that you don’t have an unwanted mailer.
“When the check comes, there’s no paper trail,” says L.J. Johnson