Me and My Nine Iron

March 22, 2010

Mail money, make money

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 10:26 pm

I received a letter in the mail today from a Gary Hooser from Indiana. I thought it was one of those university brochures telling me to go to their school – hooser, hoosier. Can you blame me?

Instead, I found a letter–obviously spam–but I decided to read on. The top claims “As seen on Oprah and 20/20.” That’s not saying a whole lot. I mean, it’s not like Oprah’s never been duped before.

The letter explains simply that you mail say, 200 letters in the hopes that each person mails you back $1 and each of those people mail 200 more letters each and so on and so forth. Sound like a pyramid scheme? I’ll say, but an even lazier version. It actually reminds me of those postings on campus that says something like, “Want to make $980/week working from home?” Though, I don’t know if that involved the same concept. You are to mail the one dollar with the statement, “Please add me to your mailing list,” to the seven people at the end of the letter – Gary Hooser being my seventh.

They claim these seven words make the entire operation legal, and what better than to invest in ourselves is what they say. But, more about the seven people. At the end of the letter, they give straightforward instructions as to what to do. First, mail a dollar to the seven people on the list. Next, purchase 200 names from Datafax for $40 or 500 names for $75. Sadly, the website‘s legit, meaning our personal information can be bought for a price. Then, mail the exact same letter, except edit the list of seven at the end to include your name. You would remove the first name off the list and move everyone up a notch, with your name being the seventh. The buck, literally, stops after the seventh degree.

All throughout the letter, they guarantee that you’ll make at least $800,000 in cash, and that’s on the conservative end. The instructions sound logical and fairly harmless. We all give each other one dollar and pay it forward. They really sell it well, but it’s not without its flaws. First, I found the first typo on the fourth page of the five-page letter. When I was done, there were at least five typos, which reminded me of someone doing homework and getting sloppy towards the end. I bring this up because it really hurts the professional appearance of an already skeptical idea. They can’t afford typos, yet choose to litter the last page and a half with them.

Also, what prevents people from skipping the first step–pay the seven people on the list–and going right to mailing out the 200 letters? Besides good faith and the whole do unto others as you would like them to do unto you, nothing that I can think of. As for your investment, it sounds like you’re fronting only seven dollars, right? Don’t forget that you have to provide postage for 207 and purchase the list of names, bringing the total investment to $138.08 plus the cost of 207 envelopes. By that point, you have to believe that you can get about 150 people send you money just to break even.

In the end, it was nothing more than some leisurely and somewhat informative reading (on the latest money-making schemes). I just hope not to get anymore of these letters.




  1. Maybe, and they twisted the whole purpose of their appearance. But in the letter, they used it to claim that they were credible.

    Comment by Bryan — March 23, 2010 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

  2. As seen on Oprah and 20/20? maybe they were exposes? I mean, being on 20/20 cannot be a good thing.

    Comment by Dan — March 23, 2010 @ 11:40 am | Reply

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