fright mail
n. Letters and other mail pieces that use scare tactics to solicit money.

Example Citation:
Congress needs to put tighter reins on mass mailings from private groups that raise millions of dollars by raising questions about the future of Social Security and preying on the fears of the elderly, a Senate panel was told Monday. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., said "fright mail" often arrives in official-looking envelopes from groups with names resembling those of government agencies, exhorting senior citizens to send money to protect their benefits.
—Nancy Benac, "Senators Call for Tighter Reins on Misleading Mailings," The Associated Press, November 20, 1989

Earliest Citation:
Senator Kuchel described it as "fright mail." Its tone was hysterical, fearful, conspiratorial, hateful, suspicious, and intemperate.
—John C. Livingstone, Consent of the Governed," Macmillan, January 1, 1971 (approx)

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