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Nationwide crackdown on mail fraud begins

Mail fraud graphic October 1, 1997
Web posted at: 11:11 p.m. EDT (0311 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies joined hands with more than 1,500 private sector volunteers Wednesday to launch a nationwide crackdown on mail fraud.

"Project Mailbox," initiated by the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the National Association of Attorneys General and the American Association of Retired People, targets con artists who use mass mail to defraud consumers.

The FBI estimated several years ago that an estimated $40 billion a year is lost to mail and telemarketing scams that include a range of deceptive claims such as phony bills, bogus advance-fee card offers and false contest claims.

One goal of the new effort is to get a more accurate and up-to-date estimate on the size and nature of this problem. To assist, AARP is asking members to turn over unsolicited and suspicious mail to law enforcement officials. The coalition is also launching a consumer education campaign.


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