The American Association of Retired Persons, or AARP, is similar to other organizations in its use of automated screening systems to process applications and communicate with its members.
In setting up an automated screening system, technicians will program filters that are designed to catch vulgar, obscene, threatening, and bigoted words which some might use on applications through malicious or whimsical intent.
In one particular case in Central Florida, the system was outsmarted after a string of profanities were written out as one word on an application. That big, ugly word wasn't recognized by filters when Linda Armachain's AARP card was mailed out to her.
"It was just a shock!" said the Altamonte Springs woman of her reaction when she received her the card in her mailbox at the hair salon she owns.
We have chosen not to publish the word which was posted on the card and the accompanying letter in several locations where Linda's name should be, but will tell you that the name consists of two vulgar words, blended together, which could be perceived as sexist and racist.
"I'm going to save these, because I don't think anyone would ever believe me that that came in the mail," said Armachain. "I will never say those words!"
Linda called us, because she wanted to find out how an organization like AARP could let something like this happen. She also wanted to make sure no one else received such an insult in the mail.
We contacted AARP by phone. The organization's spokesman, David Allen, apologized profusely for the error.
"This is clearly a case of harassment -- someone who took the time to create a name that made it past our automated obscenity screening procedures," he said. "We appreciate this being brought to our attention so we can look at our systems and make sure this never happens again."
It is unclear if this was done by someone inside the organization or by someone who registered online using Linda's address, according to Allen. He did say that this is believed to be the only time something like this has ever happened and is urging others to report such an incident should it occur.
For more information about AARP, visit their website by clicking here.