Printers and direct mail fraud

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Publisher’s Clearing House, which I recently wrote about for its launch of PCHtv.com, is back in the news. Promo reported that the company has alerted its members about fake sweepstakes mailings that claim to be from PCH, Oprah Winfrey and O Magazine.

The mailings include seemingly real checks that are, in fact, counterfeit. Consumers are led to believe the checks are an advance on a large cash prize and that they should cash the check and wire money back to an address to receive the remainder of the winnings. This address turned out to be false.

Everyone has received spam e-mail claiming to be making the recipient a millionaire, but direct mail seems to be one of the less obvious places for fraud as printing costs and mail’s tangible nature seem to be an easy target for law enforcement.

While all companies need to be wary of fraud and identity theft, I’m curious about the actual printing aspect of the crime. Not that printers would in any way be responsible for the incident, but do printers have some sort of code of ethics? For example if I were to walk into a printer and ask to have these mailings printed, would I need to show any identification that I was actually working with the company mentioned in the mailing? I’m still doing some research on the topic, but in mean time feel free to leave comments.

More to follow…
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