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). 

28 comments:

  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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    Replies
    1. You need to call your state's elder advocacy group. They have people who are able to intervene. Begin with the Attorney General's offcie or local sherrif in order to determine who the recognized groups are in her area.

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    2. Got a new one today, claiming that a "bill was in the works" to increase Soc.Secy. They named no Congressman, Senator or author, gave no Bill number, but they wanted money to "help this legislation along". Gee, I wish I'd thought of this scam!

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    3. First, you should tell her that she should not make any donations until you can check them out. Does your POA specify financial control?
      Second, find out the name of the group and check them out. Charity Navigator www.charitynavigator.org is a good one to check. Check with AARP. They have a fraud unit that focuses on frauds against the elderly.

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  2. I am a retired Master Sargent with the Ohio National Guard. One of my assignments was duing military alert duty in the former Panama Canal Zone with four fighter planes. The Panama Citizens working for the Panama Canal Comission were unique in that they were the only non citizens who could earn US Social Security credits. All other aliens could go back five years after becoming citizens for Social Security one half of the reqired credit to become eligible for retirement.

    This organization is trying to cop sentiment from people who hate immigrants saying they will rob our Social Secuity funding and deplete the funds so all benefits will be reduced.

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  3. My deceased mother-in-law continues to receive from:
    1-Coalition to Salute America's Heroes
    2-Soldiers' Angels
    3-Troops Need You.com
    4-Seniors Center
    5-National Defense Foundation (NCOA)
    6-Steve King
    7-Project Veritas (James O'Keefe Exposing Vote Fraud on Video Because America Deserves Honest Elections in 2012) isn't that unique???!!!
    8-Help Hospitalized Veterans National Processing Center
    9-Americans Helping Americans in Appalachia
    10-Senior Citizen League
    11-Sister Michaela, World Villages for Children, A Project of Asian Relief, Inc.
    AND more
    MOST of the above are at post office box numbers in Washington, DC. A couple are PO Box numbers in Topeka Kansas & has an actual address in Alexandria, VA.
    You can register this "religious" group at "Ripoff.com" as a start. AND, you can Google the name of this organization and try to find information on the Internet. GOOD LUCK!!

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  4. My Mom is 82 years old and I am an only child, I have 2 daughters that help me when they can do things for her. I have had to start getting her mail because she has had almost 60 different letters in one day and they all want money. Every time she opens a letter that looks like it has a check in it she say this is a real check and I have to tell her to look at the last page and see how much they want. I have been sending out letters wanting them to take her off there mailing list but I don't know if that is going to help or not..

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  5. A similar scare letter was sent to a friend of mine who was shaken by the message in the letter "that social security benefits" are being threatened by a potential bill of the President's that would give more right to illegal immigrants to collect social security on illegal income than U.S. citizens have.

    She questioned the authenticity of the claims and letter and gave it to me to investigate online. It seems to be a right wing attempt to look like an official grassroots group of many members trying to protect the elderly from the President's agenda.

    Despite the very well done attempt to make it look like an authetic and accurate message, the content was so right wing that it did make a reader stop and ask if it was real.

    Unfortunately, there is nothing illegal with a right wing non-profit from publishing and mailing petitions with a request for a small donation of $15 to further THEIR CAUSE, while making it look like a cause we should all be part of.

    With the President's approval ratings on the rise, anything that can propagandize and negativize his agenda and him, works for them in trying to sway the minds of the average citizen via cleverly worded messages that inflame emotions against the Democratic legislative agenda, which the letter balantly distorts to make it seem threatening to seniors.

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  6. We received this same letter with a plea to send money. The reply would be sent to post office box 97173 in Washington, D.C., 20090-7173; there is no telephone number or website address. RED FLAGS! So I did a search and this is the result. I believe this is just another scam, so don't fall for it.

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  7. We received this same letter, addressed to the not-so-widely known location where we reside along with our mailing address, asking for a donation to the Senior Citizens League, P O Box 97173, Washington, DC, 20090-7173. No telephone number. No website. RED FLAGS!!! I did a search on the I-net and this is what I found. I believe this is just another slick scam. This same group stole $$$$$$$ from unsuspecting seniors under the guise of the "Notch" issue some years past.
    PLEASE DO NOT FALL FOR THIS SCAM!!!

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  8. Report these people to the law, and tell them you have reported them as a group that is trying to take her personal positions. This is elderly abuse at its best and tell these people to get out and do not come back, of course not in front of your charge. You are to be commended for watching out for her when people in this group try to get her possessions. Call a church group in your area to see if someone from their church can visit her, tell them what is going on.

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  9. I got a four page letter today from The Senior Citizens League asking for donations to stop cuts to military benefits we were promised. The letter was written like a sales scam, so I was a bit worried about sending them money. The letter was signed by SMSgt (Retired) Larry Hyland. Can anyone tell me if this is a real organization or if I should stay away from them. Their address is TSCL POB 96634 Washington DC 20090-6634. If this is illegal, how can I report it? My email is tmohnkern@verizon.net

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  10. I am very glad to find out that this organization is NOT legitimate, because my 87 year old mother keeps getting these 'newsletters' requesting money.

    This organization sounds like they are anti-immigration reform by implying that immigration reform for a path to citizenship as 'amnesty for illegals' in this country. That is not the case at all. They must get at the end of the line, pay a fine, learn English and work to become full citizens. They are very devious about scaring and misleading unsuspecting and unimformed people.

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  11. Check out the religious group through the BBB and your own church affiliation. Scams abound.

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  12. We must be aware of any scammers or outright thieves who do favors for seniors or act friendly, only to take advantage of them financially or by stealing possessions. Any "agency" working with your senior should screen the caregivers--I'm referring to a thorough nationwide criminal background screening. Our agency provides non-medical home care for seniors and every caregiver is compassionate, efficient, and screened. Seniors are a national treasure. http://www.eliteseniorcompanions.com

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  13. If I were you, I would contact the police and ask if they have a department that investigates fraud.
    You might also go inline and see if there are any others who have had a bad experience with the group.

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  14. How can I get my name OFF ALL of the mailing lists of the senior citizens league as well as the national committee to preserve social security & medicare

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  15. I would start asking the religious group questions and be very aggressive. It sounds like many red flags have already been raised. Check with your state's Office of the Attorney General for guidance if you suspect they are after her money. This type of scam is not an unusual one. Good luck!

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  16. I Tucker Hollis Jr. am also a victim of the scam of the senior citizens league. I recently sent them a ten-dollar money(western union) an as of this date.Friday,Aril 25 2014. I only received another letter requesting more money.with a authorization#0071914295 AH141412 to be sent to REP.&SEN. My E-mail address is tuckerhollis64@yahoo.com.I need help also checking into this matter.

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  17. I just received a mailing from them, so I Googled them, and that lead me to this webpage. At this point, I'm neither for nor against them.

    But I do find some of your comments inaccurate. You say the lack of tax deductibility is a red flag. But in order for donations to be tax deductible, an organization has to be organized as a 501(c)3, and that comes with rigid restrictions, including that the organization is not allowed to lobby Congress. Non-profits that want to lobby Congress on an issue, which is an entirely legitimate thing to do, have to be organized as a 501(c)4. However 501(c)4 status comes with the restriction that donations are not tax deductible.

    It's actually quite common for big non-profits to have two different organizations, one 501(c)3 and one 501(c)4. That way, one of the organizations can lobby Congress while the other can accept tax-deductible donations. See N.O.W.'s webpage at http://now.org/leaderdoc/summary-of-nows-tax-status for an explanation of how they're organized.

    Smaller organizations who want to lobby Congress are stuck with only 501(c)4 status, and therefore donations are not tax deductible. That doesn't make them illegitimate.

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  18. contact an elderly fraud unit in your area, most state agencies have a unit to protect seniors against these type of abuses.

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  19. I am POA for my mother. I live five hours away from her and she receives this Senior Citizens League mail almost every other day and of course it is about protecting social security. I have believed from the very beginning this was a scam. I cannot find a phone number for this so called organization (red flag) and they are always asking for money (red flag) and always signed by a different person as chairman (red flag). My mother is in an assisted living facility and I get her mail at my address, so thank God I can just put this crap in the garbage, however, until I took over, she was giving to everyone and this was one that scared her to death. What can we do to stop these crooks?

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  20. Great information here, thank you for sharing!

    J.O.
    Concord NH assisted living

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  21. Check them on Charity Navigator for trustworthiness rating.

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  22. The Senior Citizens League is alive and still trying in Sept. 2015 to solicit funds from Senior Citizens in Alaska to 'increase COLA payments' to Social Security recipients.

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  23. I received the same letter from this same group telling me they need one million signitures to increase our monthly income $70.00 pm. I signed the petition & enclose a check for $10.00. They had a donation check list from $10.00to$25.00. Under the donation ck list was the following ' :I am on a fixed income& can not make a member level donation at this time. I am enclosing a $5.or $7.00 to help cover the cost of adding my name to the national petition , delivering the petition & this campaign". A few months passed
    & again the same letter with the same baloney since then ..3 more letters were sent to me. Don't tbe as dumb as myself & fall for this SCAM. I am 72 yrs old & have to continue to work because I can not survive on my SS alone..Beware, Beware............D.C. St. Petersburg, Fla

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  24. My Sister is 87 years old and believes this scam and sent the ten Dollars hoping for a 70.-Dollar raise in her SS Check. She just got the second request. I told her unless every Senior Citizen in America on Social Security got that letter and not only a few it is a scam. Now they even use Sen Tim Scott's name to make it really look good. Can anyone stop these crooks?

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  25. Check the religious group's financial tactics with state and federal consumer fraud agencies, the Better Business Bureau, Charity Watch, the U.S. Postal Inspector, the U.S. attorney general, the state attorney general, news outlets consumer and scams investigaters, etc.

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