Investor Protection Association for America: Don’t Do It

10 12 2008

I received a direct mail piece today from Investor Protection Association for America.  As a concerned citizen, it didn’t seem quite as obvious a ploy as other “claim your prize” mailings.

It is indeed a mailing list collection ploy (from NextMark):

Investor Protection Association for America responders are affluent investors with a vested interest in tax reform, protection of investors’ rights, the effect of high energy cost on the economy and increased political awareness. They are concerned with pending legislation and how Congressional decisions will impact their financial future. More importantly they are willing to tell Congress what they feel their priorities should be. IPAA responders subscribe to investment newsletters, financial publications, business publications, they are donors as well as financial and economic book buyers. They have the discretionary income to invest in stocks, bonds, annuities, commodities, mutual funds, oil and gas, and hedge funds as well as subscribe to publications, books and fundraising offers.

I won’t patronize you with phony outrage.  Magazine, catalog, and who-knows-what mailing lists are regular practice.  But they make no qualms about how their model works.  I accept advertising and marketing with open arms.

In these times, people are hurting and our government hasn’t yet taken the right steps to fully reassure us.  Armed with the promise of public service, they’ve given us more junk mail instead.   As such, I feel this is pretty despicable right now.

This has apparently been going on since at least 1997 (via Dave).  Now, their salespeople probably thought this might be a good time to ratchet up the mailings, given their newly propped appropriateness of their name.  Send in a blank envelope as Dave suggests, or just destroy the mailing.

Next thing is, without Google, I probably would never been able to discover this fact.  If this post stops one person from sending their information in and saves one tree, the time to write it was worthwhile.  Pass it on.

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38 responses

17 03 2009
Steve

March 2009 and this scam is still going on. I received my ‘survey,’ filled it out, and sealed the envelope, then decided to Google the IPAA before I mailed my response. I’m glad I did! I receive enough junk mail as it is; it’s a shame that folks have to be on their guard 24/7 from everyone trying to obtain or steal their personal information for profit.

26 10 2010
greg

I got my letter today, Oct 25, 2010, thought I was doing my duty by answering the questions. Sealed the envelope and was ready to put it out for tomorrows mail when I got a hunch to Google the agency. Glad I did, thought I was being a good citizen, taking the opportunity to let Uncle Sam know how I thought he was doing, and I’m getting scammed.

23 04 2009
John

On April 22 I received mine. My wife asked, “What are the questions?” That’s the only reason I read them. I find it incredible that people still respond to these things in good faith. After all the warnings and publicity about such trash, how does the credibility of any list they might compile survive even the slightest scrutiny? Glad I googled it.

24 04 2009
Fred

This started when RNC sold their lists, now they target anyone who has ever gotten on their list. Even folks who subscribe to their Congressmans email.

26 04 2009
Vic

Do not return the survey. Instead send the business reply envelope empty to them so they can pay the postage.

4 10 2010
Joe

October 4, 2010
Got my “survey” in the mail today, and as others, was skeptical if it was legit. Thanks for all the posts on this.
Thanks for the tip Vic–I added about 5 pieces of cardboard to the business reply envelope so perhaps they have to pay a bit more extra postage.

7 05 2009
lee

It is a special interest group, no doubt. The questions are valid and any voter should consider them during any administration..some are incomplete in scope of possible answers. I detest unsolicited mail… But how is this group any different than what ACORN/community organizers or shakedown artists from the Fannie Mae crowd…or other mass fund raisers with political agendas do…? I too, am sick of spam, big-brother-marketing/government and junk mail (sacrificed trees and resultant landfill). But gimme a break: if it’s liberal agenda..it’s ok? if it might be capitalistic it’s not..? The Democrats and Republicans suck equally. They’re all playing the same game which requires us pawns, whom they need to keep “dependent and down on the reservation/plantation”, so they can stay on the cover of People magazine.

24 05 2009
Kevin

I just got mine. What I do in such cases is to put a 3×5 card in the envelope with the word “SCAM” written large, then return it without the survey. That way they have to pay at least a little more for disturbing me.

++ kevin

11 06 2009
outhere

Yeah, mail an empty envelope. That helps USPS be efficient. Save a tree, gimme a break. Avoid becoming an advertising address, Hah, whaddya think happens when you apply for a drivers license or even an SS card? And if you reply via this BLOG you become a listed emailer on this site? You people . . . . . this IS from ACORN!

8 07 2009
Joseph

Same story as Steve, in July 2009! Glad I googled it. God bless.

5 08 2009
Robert Filmore

The way the choices were framed made it an obvious ploy. Good catch and advisory on your part!

13 11 2009
Jim P

Got it in the mail….. and filled it out. Before mailing though, I Googled the sender. GLAD I DID

16 11 2009
paulthepilot

I wouldn’t send the envelope back empty – I include french fries with mustard and other junk mail for the day so it weights it down so they have to pay more…. and maybe they need to eat.

22 11 2009
Frank

Why not just fill it out, cut your name and addresss off the top and send it in. This way, if it’s a scam , they pay the postage and do not get your info. If it’s lagit, you get your opinion heard. After all, should we just sit here and do nothing as our country plunges deeper in to soicialism?

3 12 2009
Ken

I would suggest that you do as I do. Fill the prepaid envelop with as many lead fishing weights as it can securely hold.
The US postal service bill to them could amount to 10 bucks or so. It is my small way of extracting a pound of flesh.

22 12 2009
John

No fishing weights are necessary as the envelope is a pre-paid situation with the U S Postal service and the one price gets it with no corrections. No need to overburden the U S Post Office with extra special stuffing

2 01 2010
paulthepilot

Postage Will Be Paid By Addressee when the envelope gets mailed back. The direct mail folks who sent the enclosed envelope pay only for the envelope, its printing, and of course sending it to you. The permit number is only billed when it passes through the automated equipment. The trees are already down. The permit holder buys the gas to get the fries and fishing weights back to them, increasing their expenses and hopefully forcing them to abandon their spam efforts 🙂
USPS DMM 507.8.0 http://pe.usps.gov/mpdesign/misc_docs/mqc_html/mqc_9.htm

4 12 2009
Tim Hinchliff

I’m glad I Googled this before I sent in my sarcastic remarks. I did recognize the smell of this junk right away, but I thought, “Hey, I’ll give these people a little piece of my mind!”
Then, I saw this blog from Google and decided to send the thing back to them empty. Like another responder noted, these various entities have lots of different ways to get my name, address and phone number, so why encourage more.
Thanks to this blog and to Google!

14 12 2009
michelle

I received the mail a couple week ago, and i’m glad i found this website before i reply the survey.
I cut the survey paper half and write ” STUPID SCAM ” on the back with red pen and send it back to them , ha ha ..

I cut the survey paper half because i don’t want to waste my own paper.
Reuse the paper they send minus the address on top (remember to throw away your name and address part ) .

22 12 2009
John

recieved my mailing and glad I googled the thing. Was gonna answer all questions but thanks to you I am just mailing back the empty pre-paid enevelope so that it will cost them and send their postal money to the broke arse U S Postal Sevice. Helping where I can.

18 02 2010
Beth

I find it interesting–and frustrating–that the survey was mailed to my ex-husband, who has not been at my address in ten years. The only organization he gave money to was the NRA.

2 03 2010
Chris D

I received a solicitation via email March 2010…searched via google…and after 3-4 minutes of research, I have relegated this one to the trash/spam bin it deserves. Thanks for the heads up….

2 03 2010
Dana

Hm… i applied for a few jobs at careerbuilder.com and just received an email from these guys saying they are hiring… they are getting creative with their scams and coming out w/ new ways to steal personal info… respect…

14 05 2010
SE

What a bunch of creeps! Whatever happened to our values and patriotism? Do these folks who send these letters or work for “Investor Protection Association For America” have parents or children of their own? Heaven can wait….NOT!

Thanks for the blog…I received the same letter, filled it out and was about to mail – but no wait, let me check the internet to see what Investor Protection Association For America does? The rest is history. Thanks for letting us know.

SE

20 05 2010
Ace

I suggest you send back the envelope empty. Let them pay the postage and do their little bit to move the economy

31 08 2010
Mike

I sent the letter and crossed out survey page back to them, in their own envelope, with a note to remove my name and address from their database.

25 09 2010
Greg

September 25, 2010. Got one today. Googled name and found a bunch of irritated posts including this one. Thanks for the heads up.

25 09 2010
Greg

Further investigation revealed this:

http://lists.nextmark.com/market;jsessionid=3BFB5638CE9F7A2A0A666ABF5E488E05?page=order/online/datacard&id=195297

It may be legal, but it’s still a scam!!

22 10 2010
Frank

None of us appreciates this type of fraudulent activity. Many people will not see this post, so if you go to another site you might post this message: “Write a letter of complaint to the Attorney General of VA.”
If enough complaints are received, the AG should look into the matter and even possibly prosecute for fraudulent activity. Unfortunately, it takes many complaints for the AG to act.
(I had sent a letter to AG Terry Goddard in AZ. about a fraud ad by a car dealer. Just got a run-around letter back saying their office was too busy, but would keep my letter on file).

5 11 2010
karen

Received similar from “Investor Protection Association For America” with address “5505 Conneticut Avenue NW #140, Washington, DC 20015-2601” but address on return envelope is Survey Collection Center, Investor Protection Association For America, 841 E Fort Avenue Ste 235, Baltimore MD 21230-9962; with permit no. 786, Washington DC

8 11 2010
Mike

Like so many other suspicious responders. I received this survey in the mail and something told me I should check out the organization. Glad I did. I sent the envelope back empty.

2 01 2011
Dave

The scam continues. Cut name and address from both letter and envelope. Also cut off the bar code and other info from bottom of envelope. Never send identifying info when returning scammer junk mail in a reply envelope when you cannot trace the sender, like with these dirt bags. With aarp I sent it all back, and after the fifth time they took me off of the list.

30 01 2011
Tom Cianci

I received the letter from the “Investor Protection Association For America” and for a second I thought it meant that there would be REAL CHANGE going on in Washington..
NOT!!!!!!!

I also mailed it back to them unsigned and my name and code cut out, let them throw it out and hope they recycle this crap!!

30 01 2011
fci

I don’t like unsolicited mail like this either. I don’t see how it is a scam except in getting a mailing list together that they can sell (as shown on the webpage referenced above).
I also sent back a bunch of scrap paper so, hopefully; it costs them a bit more in postage.

11 04 2011
MK

This mailing seemed a bit odd when I saw it in the mailbox. Thanks for the confirmation that it wasn’t what it seemed!

13 07 2011
Kenny G

got the letter in the mail today and glad I checked and found this blog… thanks!

15 11 2011
Hal Shaefer

November 14, 2011 and the solicitation goes on.
I never return a survey with my name and address on it, much less a phone number – but I always return the paid return envelope to help the USPS!

13 03 2012
Ken Gates

3-12-12 and just got the survey. Thanks for the warning, I knew something was not right.

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