Herald and Journal Herald & Journal, May 11, 1998

You'll never get rich this way


Have you noticed a little less junk mail in your mailbox lately? It's been awhile since we got a letter stating "You are a winner . . ."

Ever since the elderly man flew to Tampa, Fla. to collect what he thought was his winnings and found he was not a winner. The boom has crashed down on American Family Publishers and Publishers Clearinghouse. Twenty-five states have sued American Family Publishers. I don't know about the other 24 states, but Wisconsin will receive a $50,000 payment.

Publishers Clearinghouse is also under investigation. The "Prize Patrol" van people were responsible for a sad event a year ago.

An 85-year old woman from Oregon, Wisc. got dressed up, expecting a visitor and a celebration in her honor. She believed the Prize Patrol van was going to bring her $100,000 that day. When it didn't show, she had a heart attack and seven days later died.

It turned out she had stopped taking her blood pressure medicine so she could pay for magazine subscriptions and video orders, which had cost her more than $4,000 in less than two years.

A year earlier, she had been so certain of winning the $10 million Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, that she had made up a guest list, prepared invitations and contacted a local restaurant to rent a party room.

What did the sweepstakes notice say? "Your name has been selected for inclusion in the public notice on the outside of this bulletin. It is quite possible that with a timely entry you may be owed prize money, perhaps even $10 million."

I would gather that eventually we'll get some junk mail from the magazine sweepstakes again. But with modifications, I would hope.

We'll see what happens. Maybe we'll be inundated with sweepstakes mail again.

I will admit though, they do have good buys in magazines. So if you want a magazine, fine. If not, I recommend chucking it all in the nearest waste basket.

You know that you'll never get rich this way.

I've always wondered where do forest rangers go to get away from it all?

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