Friday, July 2, 2010

The Senior Citizens League

We received an envelope today from "The Senior Citizens League" with a return address of Washington, DC 20090-7173.   Inside was a newsletter with an imitation post-it note, asking us to sign the "local area petition" to get Congress to pass the Emergency Social Security COLA so that folks receiving Social Security will receive $70 more every month.

Apparently, this organization is promoting getting the COLA adjustment for Social Security, even though the automatic COLA does not apply because there has not been inflation.  You don't get a COLA adjustment in any year where it is not necessary because here was not inflation.  This is a formula that has been in effect since 1975. [ The good news is that when we had deflation, social security payments were not lowered.]

And what do they really want?  $10 mailed to:
  TSCL Local Area Coordinator
  P.O. Box 97173
  Washington, DC 20090-7173

The plea for money is customized for our local community, which is pretty slick. But there is no "local" chapter here, so it is just a ploy to make it seem more legitimate.

A few warning signs:
  • They state that the "donation" is not tax deductible.  This should raise a caution flag.
  • They use "scare mailing" to solicit funds. See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/21/senior-citizens-group-ple_n_328344.html
  • This is the same group that sends out solicitations for "donations" for the "Notch" issue. See: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Notch+octogenarians+should+beware+of+Social+Security+scam.-a0181614553 and http://waysandmeans.house.gov/legacy/socsec/107cong/7-26-01/7-26klec.htm
  • This organization has been associated with previous scams. See http://www.madison.mt.gov/departments/sheriffs_office/SO_Msg/SeniorCitzScams.pdf 
  • The original corporation, The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA), Inc., was incorporated in Colorado as a nonprofit organization.
  • For the BBB report: http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/elderly/trea-senior-citizens-league-in-alexandria-va-1628  You will see that they raised $9 million through these mailings.
The use of scare tactics and misleading statements to raise "donations" (that are not tax deductible) is simply trying to take advantage of the elderly.  At $10 a piece, they got money from 900,000 elderly in 2008 (primarily from their Notch scare newsletter). 

1 comment:

  1. I am POA for an elderly woman who is incapacitated physically and mentally and is very lonely. She does have a fulltime aide.
    For the past few months a "religious" group has been visiting her and she has enjoyed the company. Lately, she has been asking unusual questions regarding her finances and her possessions and phrasing these questions in a way that does not sound like her. She has become quite hostile to me. At first I saw no harm in the visits (they represent themselves as part of a fairly mainstream relgion that does missionary work. However, I don't think such a group would be discussing her finances. I have come to believe that this is a scam of some sort. My friend is becoming more and more attached to them. How can I check on this? I am all she has and I live 50 miles away.

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