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How can I get my father removed from scam "sweepstakes" mailing lists?

16 answers | Last updated: Jun 01, 2015
An anonymous caregiver asked...

My father gets sweepstakes offers constantly, his mailbox is full of them...because he's responded to them. How can I get these to stop coming in the mail, and to convince him that he didn't "win the jackpot"? I've told him a million times they are a scam.


20% helpful
Ben in CA answered...

Wow, I wish I had the answer. Your letter sounds exactly like the situation with my dad. Not only has his family told him that these are all fake, an FBI agent and a police detective along with his doctor have tried. He so much wants these notices to be true. But of course they are worthless. If you have found out any information please let me know. I don't know if the post office will stop delivery of this type of mail while allowing the first class mail to get through. Good luck with your situation!


More Answers
50% helpful
CBo answered...

I am coping with the same thing - it's all my mother lives for is the mail arriving, then returning mail to these scams. Her post office has tried to talk sense to her on numerous occasions until she accused them of "harassment". I know she has been sending some money but she plays it off like its only a few dollars here and there, and when I suggested my name be added to her bank account in case of emergency, I was told "only after I win the money because they told me I can't have anyone else on my account" OMG!!!

If you discover something, PLEASE let me know!!! I feel completely useless and I'm scared of what the future may bring!


67% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

I have been dealing with the same thing and do have some helpful information. First, call your state Attorney General's office. I did that last week and was told the first thing to do is change all of their telephone numbers and do not list the numbers. Then contact the postal inspector regarding the sweepstakes entry forms they are receiving. We were told to keep them and turn them into the post office. The lady from the AG's office also called my parents and talked to them and explained to them the lottery scam. The AG's office was also able to place their names on a list with Western Union so they are unable to wire money, they also contacted their banks (after we provided them the information) and alerted them to the fact they were victims of a lottery scam. We do feel like we have a better handle on this but my mother was the one filling out the sweepstakes forms and that is how they started calling her. We may get to the point where we have to get their mail and then give them only the important mail and throw the junk mail away. The AG's office will be your best source of information and support. Good luck


Ruth S-Professional answered...

I'm dealing with the same thing with my dad and I work for an area agency on aging! I am pulling my hair out, sending oodles of letters and a copy of the power of attorney form I have to the "Mail Preference Service" that shows up on "Notification" fine print on back of the entry forms. I am "demanding" that they "cease and desist" from sending him anything else, that they remove him from their mailing list, and stop sharing his name and address with other mailing lists. It's a daunting task and I don't know if it'll help. I threatened that if they don't stop, I will contact local & federal authorities (there are consumer protection services out there) But I don't know how much it'll do. As others note, it's entertainment for him and he really thinks he's going to win! He is also ordering all sorts of junk, which makes him happy when I walk in the door & he can say, "I got this new kitchen strainer for you" and he can give me something...... My mother is pulling her hair out & their garage is filling up with all kinds of not made in USA junk!! .If someone can offer some alternatives to this, I know millions of caregivers would be eternally grateful. I'd love to find some sort of safe, trustworthy mail service that could come regularly for him to work on. He wouldn't be able to handle crossword puzzles and things like that, due to his cognitive limitations. What could there be that makes them feel as though they have purpose and can give them something to look forward to in the mail daily?? The 210 million dollar question!! If you have an answer, you're a winner!! (: >


kariecat answered...

I am dealing with the same thing with my Mom. Here is a website that I found very helpful. www.privacyrights.org, click on junk mail link on the left, then click on fact sheet #4. Also at dmachoice.org you can register as a caretaker and request thier name be removed from mailings. Good Luck


Edm answered...

So basically there really is no way to get removed from these sweepstakes lists. Our country has the ability to pinpoint where we are at any given time but we cant stop this garbage coming into our country attacking our most valuable assets our elderly. I think everyone who receives this trash should forward it to our representatives. In two months my dad has received over 300 sweepstakes, lottery, and psychic offers maybe even get the politicians on the mailing list. Im sick of the whole thing. Everytime I call a government office im given the run around to call someone else call your state ag, call the fbi, call your representative, call the post office, call the postal inspector. Our government should be capable of shutting this garbage down and they do nothing because this is REVENUE for the post office


devdude1962 answered...

I have been dealing with this issue with my Father-in-Law since Last October 2013. He swears that they are coming to the house with his check and balloons. He secretly gets the mail and fills out these entries. He has written 40 or so checks for various amounts to dozens of these outfits not believing that they are all scams. So I filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau in about fifteen states asking to be removed from their mailing lists as well as a full refund. I have gotten some responses and in two cases I received a full refund. This was only after I got myself access to his bank accounts online. I then downloaded all his checking activity into an Excel document and I could sort out all the sweepstakes check that cleared. What a pain in the butt this has become. I files an AG complaint in Kansas City. They were of little help. I think my next step will be to divert his mail to a PO BOX. I just wonder if he is also getting phone calls. he still has access to credit cards and debit cards. OMG


100% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

My mom fits the "all of the above" category! We redirected all her mail to come to us. We now have legal Pwer of Atty to her financial and credit accounts and handle her bills. We additionally registered as "Caregivers" of our parent at DMA.org to stop all phone, email and postal solicitations. We now pay all bills for her through auto-pay and have given mom a moderate limit credit card for her incidental expenses. Having a window into those transactions on a single credit card allows us to see and regulate if further fraud is occurring, so we can escalate any suspicious activity.

We now return all of the US and off shore sweepstakes solicitations as "REFUSED".

This frustrating thing is that there is no simple way to stop these solicitations outright, as the perpetrators make minor modifications to the name to get around any countermeasures activated. We take minor comfort that we can reduce financial risk to my mom. I am also looking into working with Western Union to disallow my mom from making money orders to these fraudsters and scammers.


50% helpful
lagunajax answered...

I am adding a Western Union update to my post directly above . You can stop your elderly parents from making money orders to accompany these fraudulent sweepstakes entires.

Instructions: Mail an "application" (this is a letter created by you to include the following information: Parents name and aliases, Full Address, phone numbers and why you need to block the parent you are making the application for.

Mail application to: Western Union Attn.- Fraud Department 12510 East Belford Avenue M/S M21A1 Englewood, CO 80112

You can also fax the request for application to block an individual from utilizing Western Union for fulfill these scams The fax number is: 888-295-2995.

If you have the money order receipts you can open fraud investigations by either including the transaction number(s) in the request or by calling 1-800-CALL-CASH and choosing the fraud investigation out of the options given which unfortunately comes after listening to 4 options and then having to choose "more options" before you can connect to a fraud department representative.

Hope this helps all of you out there struggling with similar parental/elderly sweepstakes scams and fraud!


darthjenni answered...

If the scam is from America you can stop it using a Prohibitory Order USPS form 1500 My blog has complete instructions on how to use it http://drowndinginmail.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/drowning-in-junk-mail-how-to-stop-scam-junk-mail/


Rosey66 answered...

This won't work in all situations but we gave my Mom a monthly budget for "charities, lotteries and sweepstakes". Then we developed a "form" that she completes for all she receives for the month and then she chooses the ones she chooses to pay from her budget. I did have to take the checking account over and i sit with her 1 hour to write "her" checks. Seems to keep her satisfied to manage her "budget" and has kept her ands out of the account. For someone who asked earlier - yes, these people call ...I have heard the conversations. They are mean, rude and barely understandable.


robskater answered...

I am attacking my fathers mail very aggressively and made one mistake. First I sent him a fake letter from a Fake Scam Alert agency informing him that his personal information was released due to him sending checks overseas and that they agency was handling it. He never believed me they were not real but he BELIEVED the letter after all it was in the MAIL! He they apologized to me for doing it all. The fake letter I send then advised to have a close friend or family member help him deal with the mail. He then let me do the following. First open a PO box and forward ALL their mail to it. I forwarded it to my home and now some of the scammers have changed the address directly to me! I should have done a PO BOX! Basically take the mail away. I printed mailing labels to put on the letters saying "return to sender, remove from mailing list, all further mail is rejected" and I put them in the outgoing mail. I send the mail that is legit to my father by USPS or FEDEX because the mail no longer delivers to him. He got upset at first and wanted to read the sweepstakes mail and psychic mail. I did save some, I removed ALL THE PAYMENT ENVELOPES and sent him the letters to read. I was careful to black out any addresses if they were on the letter. I have won the war for 6 months now. over 100 letters per week are now returned. He sent in over 25K to these AHOLES. Romana, Beijing, Nehterlands, FIJU and a bunch in PA as well. Now I have to forward MY mail to the PO BOX let that catch hold in the Mail process so they only have that address then one by one change my legitimate mail address back to my home after a couple months to get it back on track. If you cant do the mail what I did was order my father Checks on his banking and cancel all of them before they arrive that way none of the checks clear his bank, bounce on the scammers and cost them money.....I saved him thousands doing that one. GOOD LUCK!


LaLittle answered...

Thank you all for opening up this discussion. I'm trying to find a way to help my aunt who is in denial. I know of $2,950 worth of money orders she just sent to FL with the pay to blank per their request. They knew if she got $3,000 worth her info would be taken down for the gov. They are smart about what to say & how this age group thinks. The Better Business Bureau has some good videos on these being scams for our loved ones to watch too. I'm going to try to type up the "official" letter stating these are a scam that has been recommended above. I won't be able to utilize the PO Box idea but this is a start. She has medical needs that are being neglected because of $$ she has sent. She is currently waiting on a ck for $6k to arrive in mail from 1 sweeps (2 months past. Due now) and $450k from the money she sent to FL. We must ban together. If anyone needs me to mail an "official" scam letter from a different state than where you live, I would be willing to help. I'm in Indiana. And thank you all for listening to my venting too. Stay strong, this could of been most of us in a few years.


cape girl answered...

The key is the mail. My mother in law got on Republican Party hate mail list...how to save social security, how to get rid of Obama, gun rights, electing little known politicians from far away states etc. And of course they all wanted money. And of course she sent them all money. And her mail exploded. I attacked it aggressively by calling each group, pretending to be her and asking to be removed. I spent hours and hours a week because these groups HIDE and don't always make a phone number available. I didn't understand HOW the mail was still flowing in after all my work. Then I was lucky enough to stumble on one of the mailing houses that sends this stuff out, and got a fabulous person who gave me the names of the mailing houses of all these different groups that sent the mail out. It was not the groups that I was calling who I needed to speak to, it was these mailing houses. The other tip he gave me was to say my mother in law was deceased. I followed his directions and contacted all these different mailing houses and her mail is now a fraction of what it was. Very gratifying. But still, she still gets lots of those scam 'doctor reports' that sell scam pills to get rid of wrinkles, make hair grow, get rid of aches and pains, lose weight etc. She is voracious about ordering these pills, ointments and powders. She opens them when they come (so they can't be refused and returned) and then never touches them or uses them. And they are expensive! My husband is POA so this winter we started having her mail held at the Post Office and he picks it up every few days. I pick out all the scam stuff and most of the bills and he brings over a couple of magazines but that is about it. She doesn't seem to really notice but once and a while asks about her mail. I feign ignorance and say her son is getting her mail. She says she wants her mail but doesn't really ask him about it. I would feel a little more guilty if I hadn't seen how overwhelmed she was a year ago when the mailbox was stuffed every day and she would tell me she dreaded going to get her mail because there was so much of it. She was at the point this winter that her bills were not getting paid and creditors were calling. Her table was piled so high with junk mail and the bills were mixed in. Creditors would call and she couldn't hear them because she is almost deaf. Not a good situation but much better now. Just have to make the leap to have the mail forwarded to our house but I know she won't like that when she sees the yellow forwarding labels on the envelopes we choose to let her have.


Kiddos2 answered...

I am glad I found this site. My dad sounds exactly like so many of your loved ones with an added component - if we try and take away his mail, he gets CRAZY angry. He has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's so this leads us all to believe he is not acting in his right mind. But it's taking a toll on my mom. He is severely verbally abusive towards her when he doesn't get his way. He is beyond convincing that he is being scammed. He truly believes these scammers are his FRIENDS!!!!! WTF?