When you get into your sixties, your street address, and sometimes your phone #, makes its way into lists of older people sold to marketers. So you get some truly annoying come-ons from funeral homes–for YOUR funeral–and from people who want to reduce your body to ashes for you.

But you also routinely get some really dishonest shit in the mail. Often they try to make the junk mail look official, hinting that you must open it our you could be in trouble. This should be regarded as criminal fraud but for some reason it’s tolerated. I just got one I opened only out of curiosity because I was taken aback at the extreme of dishonesty on the envelope. “PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL” it says and then “MORTGAGE NOTICE”. Now, claiming its a mortgage notice is especially crooked–because it ain’t one and because it tries to scare you by suggesting that you’ve gotten behind on your mortgage. In a little box on the envelope it says “DELIVER DIRECTLY TO ADDRESSEE: SEE TITLE 18 SEC 1702 US CODE.” Presumably that’s the US code that suggests postal workers have a responsibility to deliver ALL mail in their care. But these people are hinting that it means The Government is a-coming after you. Inside is a letter on official looking green paper, headed “IMMEDIATE RESPONSE REQUESTED”. Again, an implication you’re in trouble if you don’t response. Then it turns out to be a pitch to get me in deep debt through a Home Equity Line of Credit.

All this targets seniors because they assume that seniors are all dotty and muddled and not up to date and scared. Some are, I suppose. They’re preying on naive older people. It bothers me that this is accepted as a normal way of doing business.

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