Yesterday, we too recieved a bill for collection for a cingular phone that I supposedly owe $1,173.40 on. The funny thing is that when I did have a Cingular phone it was included in my Bellsouth complete plan and although I canncelled cell phone service, I still keep my other services. And of course Cingular does not exist as a company anylonger. Cingular, Bellsouth and AT&T are now merged into one company.
Since I am still doing business with this company, I called them and spent 2 hours on the phone with them. They looked everywhere, in all the old Cingular records that they have and they have NO record of me owing them any money. They did not send this to collection angency. Total Fraud on Afni part already.
My son called the Afni number for me while I was at work and they insist that this was I phone I closed in 2005. Cingular's records show I closed the account in 2002 and it was paid in full. They also said that I opened the account when I lived in Margate, Fl. When my son told them we had never lived in Margate, they yelled at him and said my address there was a matter of public record.
So I looked in public records myself. There is no record of anyone with my last name ever living in Margate. Caught in lie number two.
I am guessing that they prey on people thinking that they are a victim of identiy theft who then pay the bills to save their credit. But I have had a credit monitoring service for many years and I am notified if anyone even looks into my credit, let alone an acount is opened in my name, so I know this is not identiy theft.
To top this all they offered my son a deal. We could pay 4 monthly payments of $800.00. OK now do the math. That's $3,200.00 in 4 months, an increase of over $1,400.00 and about 80% interest. Loan sharks to boot.
This afternoon I sent a certified and registered return reciept letter to them stating my rights under the fair credit act and to cease all collections until they provide proper documentaiton. I also sent the following letter to both the General Attorney of the United states and the Florida Attorney General's office.
Everyone needs to start writing to the Attorny generl of both the U.S. and thier state and put a stop to this. I am also making an appointment with an attorney to make sure I am protected.
Economic Crimes Division
Office of the Attorney General
110 SE 6th Street, 9th Floor
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-5000
Re:Afni Account #xxxxxxxxx-xx
PO Box 3427
Bloomington, IL 61702-3427
January 29th, 2008
To Whom It May Concern
I received a letter on January 28, 2008 stating that Afni has acquired a delinquent account in my name for collection, in the amount of $1773.40. The original creditor is listed as Cingular. Upon receipt of this letter I immediately became suspicious of fraud. Not only does Cingular no longer exist as a company, but during the time that I had Cingular service it was a part of my complete phone service with Bellsouth and AT&T. Although in 2002 I discontinued cell phone service, I continued all of my other services with Bellsouth and AT&T and continue to receive and pay my monthly bills as part of my complete plan. Cingular, Bellsouth and AT&T are currently one merged company, therefore when I received this bill; I immediately contacted Cingular/ Bellsouth/AT&T to look into this matter. As per Cingular/ Bellsouth/ AT&T, the only Cingular service that they have any record of is Cingular cell phone which was opened in 1999; discontinued in 2002 and paid in full. They have no record of me owing them any money for any bills or other phone service. All of my accounts are paid up to current day. When I proceeded to investigate Afni I found on the internet over 146 complaints that were very similar to mine. Afni is claiming to collect on discontinued and paid cell phone numbers from 6 to 10 years old, threatening and filing reports with the 3 credit agencies when the victims do not pay them for these falsified bills. When we contacted Afni they said the phone was disconnected in 2005 at the address of 2856 NW 49th in Margate, Florida. When they were told that we never lived at said address or in Margate for that matter, they said that my address there was on public record. They also offered to allow us to make 4 monthly payments of $800.00 to settle the bill. I am a school teacher and I know that $800.00 times 4 = $3,200.00. That is an increase of $1,426.60 more than the original bill in just four months. 80 percent interest in just 4 months. After speaking with Afni, I looked on the public records myself and there is no listing for anyone by my last name living at this address or in Margate at any time. I have also subscribed to a credit monitoring service for many years and I am always notified if there is any activity in my name. This phone account has never surfaced in any of my bulletins. Furthermore Cingular/Bellsouth/AT&T has stated that they have no knowledge of this supposed bill and that I do not owe them any money. All of the information given to me by Afni has proven to be false.
Attached please find a copy of the letter which I sent to Afni Inc. in response to their request for collection of said monies.
Afni is using the fear of identity theft as a ruse to extort money from innocent citizens. This is not a case of Identity theft. This is a case of a collection agency front used for the sole intent of scamming people into thinking they owe monies on nonexistent bill and threatening them with their credit if they do not pay. As Attorney General it is your job to protect us from these types of activities. This type of deception and preying on the public must be stopped; I respectfully request that you look into the practices of Afni Inc., investigate these counterfeit collections, and prosecute this company for criminal fraud.
Thank you for your assistance
And I await your prompt reply,
Pembroke Pines, Florida