The Verizon-Afni Collections Grave Robbing Scam
It's nearly Halloween time, but a billing scam operation is already putting an early scare on the season with their own creepy tale of grave robbing abuse. A collections agency located in Illinois, Afni Collections which claims a 70 year history in the debt shakedown business is getting more negative publicity by sending out bogus Verizon bills in the name of deceased persons, maybe by culling through obituary ads to add new pain to grieving families.
Our family was a victim of this Afni scam this week, when a bogus Verizon bill from Afni was sent to our home asking for $1,852.86 for a Verizon bill my deceased father never owed to begin with. My deceased father was never a customer of Verizon or Verizon Wireless according to their records. And according to Verizon records by father was never a customer, never had an account, and Verizon never authorized Afni to send out any demand for cash letter in the name of my father. Afni took it on themself to make up the request for money, claiming that we could agree to a "settlement offer" of $926.43 and that the "good folks" at Afni would consider that "once paid, this account will be closed and you will no longer have to worry about this obligation". And our family is not the only victims of the Afni bogus Verizon billing scam.
According to one posted complaint to a consumer website, one person would have been just eight years old when Afni claimed that they ran up a Verizon bill. Many of the persons targeted by Afni, have never had accounts with Verizon. And some persons who do have current accounts with Verizon, found out that their accounts are current, and Afni was never authorized by Verizon to seek payment for bills sometimes as much as $3,000 that the current account holders do not owe.
Interestingly, Afni avoids legal problems by a status as a dues paying member of the Better Business Bureau. And despite well over 800 consumer complaints against Afni in the last 36 months to the BBB, the BBB somehow has the nerve to claim that Afni has a "satisfactory record". The BBB is a business organization, and not a consumer organization, however for the BBB to give Afni a "satisfactory record" in light of numerous consumer complaints, some citing clearly unethical or even criminal conduct on the part of Afni highlights what a big business farce the BBB has become. In Oregon, the Oregon Consumer League's former President, Lee Lacy, has cited evidence of the BBB standing in the way of consumer justice in some cases involving clear fraud by a business.
Under George Bush, federal consumer protection has grown very lax. Corporate officers were appointed by Bush to head agencies and weaken consumer protection. White collar crime of all types has flourished under George Bush; subprime home loan scams, payday loan scams, phone sales scams, Email scams, website scams and bogus billing scams. The growth of white collar crime under Bush has unfortunately become his greatest achievement so far. The unauthorized bogus Verozon bills sent out by Afni are just another symptom of how much Bush has hurt the American consumer.