AARP sends out doomsday e-mail—scaring and confusing its members

The organization sent e-mails to its members with fake (but real-looking) news stories about seniors being forced from their homes. Yeah. The story gets worse.

Direct Marketing News explains:

“The nonprofit sent 2.7 million e-mails on Feb. 1 with real-looking news stories about seniors being forced from their homes after fictional cuts to the government program. Consulting firm M&R Strategic Services worked with AARP on the campaign.”

As it turns out, some AARP members didn’t immediately realize that it was part of a sophisticated grass-roots campaign to spark conversation about the future of Social Security. Not surprisingly, this left several people confused, including some viewers of a Brunswick County, N.C., news station:

“One of the stories claims a lack of Social Security is forcing Oak Island seniors to move into cardboard shacks, which has Mayor Betty Wallace upset about the entire e-mail campaign. Although it may look like a scam, Wallace said the AARP told her the e-mail was sent as part of its grass-roots campaign.”

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