ALSO KNOWN AS direct marketing, direct mail is a form of advertising in which companies send large numbers of printed mailers, generally numbering in the millions per campaign, through the U.S. Postal Service or another mailing venue to potential customers. Direct-mail fraud results when a deceptive or misleading offer is sent to consumers via a mass mailing that causes the consumer to remit money for a product or a service with unwarranted or false expectations.

In a 1999 United States General Accounting Office report, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defined mailed material as deceptive, “if the material included a representation or practice or if the material omitted information that caused a consumer to be misled and eventually suffer some loss or injury, despite the fact that ...

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