Protecting the Elderly:

Federal Agencies' Role Concerning Questionable Marketing Practices

HRD-87-120FS: Published: Aug 26, 1987. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 1987.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

In response to a congressional request, GAO: (1) identified the federal agencies with jurisdiction to review the activities of organizations that use direct mail advertising; and (2) determined what activities agencies used to protect the elderly from deceptive business practices.

GAO found that: (1) the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) share the major role in investigating and acting against violators of laws protecting the public from mail fraud; (2) although there is no specific legislation to protect the elderly, USPS places special emphasis on reviewing fraud directed against them; (3) although several agencies have educational programs dealing with fraudulent and deceptive business practices, they do not deal specifically with the elderly; (4) although other agencies protect the public against fraud relating to specific items, the organizations selling those items generally do not use direct mail solicitation; (5) the Internal Revenue Service and USPS examine organizations' applications to decide whether to grant, withhold, or revoke preferential tax treatment and reduced postage rates; and (6) the Department of Justice generally brings civil or criminal action against agency-referred cases.

Nov 18, 2020

Nov 17, 2020

Nov 13, 2020

Nov 12, 2020

Nov 4, 2020

Oct 26, 2020

Oct 8, 2020

Oct 1, 2020

Sep 30, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here