Yellow postcard offering prizes misleading elderly, disabled

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, July 16, 2015

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW) -- It's a scheme coming straight to your mailbox targeting those who might not even know they're a victim.

It's a yellow postcard saying you've won $1000 in unclaimed gifts, but when you call the number that's not what you get.

This week 19-year-old Michael Martin thought he got a bright surprise.

"I got this yellow postcard right here of someone telling me I won $1000 in gifts from the jewelry store," Martin said.

There's only one problem with being a preferred customer at a jewelry store.

"I never ever purchased any kind of jewelry from any jewelry store," Martin said.

Soon the bright yellow postcard starting throwing up a lot of red flags. He called the number on the back.

"He said you ain't gotta have no money, we just need your card number and your expiration date, and I said wait a minute, this don't make sense at all," he said.

The so-called gift was a necklace you have to pay shipping and handling for and grocery store coupons where you could save some money. That's not what it sounded like on the card.

"They're just taking advantage, and that's wrong, ya know," Martin said.

That's not the only thing that made Michael mad. He thinks he knows who they're targeting.

"The main people is elderly people and people with disabilities," he said. "I have cerebral palsy. I was born with that, and for them to target me. It's just heartbreaking. It really got my anger point boiling."

We called the number, too.

When asked if this was a scam, the man on the phone said, "Oh no ma'am. Definitely not. Our company has been here 25 years, and our 1000 dollars grocery savings has an A+ with the Better Business Bureau."

The BBB says the company, based in Melbourne, Florida, is not accredited at all and have had 5 complaints in the past year, several of them about yellow postcards coming in the mail.

The man on the phone was persistent.

"To cover your processing fee, is your card a Visa or Mastercard?" the man on the phone asked.
"I don't want to give you my credit card information," News 12 replied.
"Not everyone uses a credit card. You can use a debit card as well," he said.

The wording on the postcard seemed urgent. The first line says, "We've been trying to reach you." Then it claims this is their "absolute very last resort effort." At the bottom, it says "this postcard verifies you've been legally notified of this matter."

Michael says because a lot of elderly people live in his neighborhood, he wanted to make sure they were warned.

If you think you've become a target, you can report it here: https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/contactUs/filecomplaint.aspx