During the 1980s, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted a program of consumer awareness designed to make people more aware of mail order fraud. Inspectors gave talks at schools, businesses, senior centers, etc., and during the presentation they showed examples of actual flimflam products that con artists had sold through the mail.
Below are some of the items they displayed. (Source: Postal Life
magazine - April 1986).
The Vision Dieter, $19.95
. These glasses had one blue and one red lens and were supposed to affect the retina of the eye in order to make food look unappetizing.
Universal Coat Hanger, $3.95.
Engraved picture of Abraham Lincoln, $10.
Pet Baby Rattler, $19.95.
The Inspection Service uncovered the "baby rattler" scam after following up on a complaint filed by the National Humane Society in Washington D.C., which had seen the ad and wanted to prevent the "snakes" from being mailed because of the possible detrimental effect upon them.
Guaranteed Bug Killer, $3.00.
These two blocks of wood came with instructions to smash the bug between them.
Solar Clothes Dryer, $9.99.
Compact Food Server, $13.95.