PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- In an age of scams, a letter being mailed to some people in our area may make you skeptical, but it turns out, it's legit.
The letter is from IBM and says you can: "Earn extra money by mailing test letters for the U.S. Postal Service." It goes on to explain that you would: "Spend on average five minutes each time you drop a bundle of letters." And that: "Your role would be to mail bundles of test letters at various U.S. Postal Service collection boxes."
According to the letter, you'd make $15 for each drop, with the possibility of 35 or more drops.
People we showed it to were ready to dismiss it. One woman said: "It's an absolute scam." Another woman said if she received it, "I would think it was a scam."
Caitlin Driscoll at the Better Business Bureau investigates scams and says, "My initial reaction when I saw this letter was to question it."
But she checked, and it turns out, the address for IBM on the letter is correct. She added that the domain name for the website provided was registered years ago, which would be rare for a scam.
And then she got a hold of someone at IBM: "An IBM representative did say this is an ongoing study that's actually been going on for about 28 years."
So Driscoll says: "It is legitimate."
Michael Rowinski, part of the media relations team at IBM, tells KDKA: "The audit itself is required by law, and this is to really test the efficiency of the Postal Service."
And Tad Kelley, a spokesperson for the Postal Service, also confirmed it's for real.
"The Postal Service measures on-time performance using studies to provide their customers with the best possible service," Kelley wrote in an email.
Some people are asked if they're willing to mail test letters. Others are asked if they're willing to receive them.
And the Postal Service does have a page on its website to explain part of this: https://about.usps.com/what-we-are-doing/service-performance/welcome.htm
Driscoll says it's good to be skeptical nowadays, but says if this were a scam it would likely ask for personal information or for you to send money upfront.
It's unknown how many people in our area have been asked to participate.
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