The Department of Justice recently indicted four men—two of whom are located in Canada and two in New York—for a mass-mailing scheme that bilked thousands of senior citizens out of tens of millions of dollars.

According to the indictments, the accused Canadian fraudsters sent mail to thousands of elderly individuals whose names and addresses they obtained through mailing lists. The mailings promised cash prizes for a fee of $19.95 to $39.95 and included a return envelope to mailboxes across the United States that they rented “under false identities.”

The indictment against the U.S. citizens alleges that the accused fraudsters mailed hundreds of thousands of prize notices that would lead to a claim of millions of dollars in cash rewards if a fee of $19.99 and $24.99 were paid. Most of those who sent money and were swindled were elderly victims. These defendants also obtained the names and addresses of the victims through mailing lists. They allegedly netted $7.5 million per year from this scheme.

Fraudsters use any means by which to obtain personal information, including names and addresses, in order to perpetrate their crimes. The selling of our names and addresses is rampant in the marketing industry, and fraudsters can easily obtain that information in massive quantities and use it to launch a scheme.

Alert senior citizens in your life about these types of frauds so they do not fall victim to them and will recognize these types of frauds when they see them.