Mail Scam Targeting Seniors Reaches 9 States

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The Delaware attorney general's office, U.S. Postal Service, Visa and the Delaware Better Business Bureau are investigating complaints from seniors about an alleged nationwide bill-collection scam targeting seniors who recently have had a family member die.

According to the Delaware BBB, a company called Exodus Collection Services has been sending collection notices to the families of the newly deceased for "Allient Visa Card," supposedly a Delaware-based bank.

The notice tries to get the family member to pay bills ranging from $138 to $700 for the deceased. The bill tells the recipient the account is "seriously delinquent" and payment is needed immediately to prevent adverse reports to credit bureaus or possible legal action.

The phone number on the invoice has been disconnected, and collection letters include pre-addressed payment envelopes with an address to a Mail Boxes Etc. mailbox in Delaware.

According to the Delaware BBB, neither the bank nor the collection service are incorporated or licensed in the state. In addition, Allient Visa is not registered with the Controller of Currency. The BBB said it has received 11 calls from consumers in nine states about the scam. It said it is working with Delaware's postal inspector.

Last week, an elderly male in Weld County, CO, received such a bill about his wife, who recently died, according to a spokeswoman for the Mountain State Better Business Bureau.

The man found no credit card with the numbers listed in the bill. He tried to contact the bank and collection agency. He learned through directory assistance that there were no Delaware phone number listings for Allient or Exodus Collection Services.

Then, "he was smart enough to call us," the spokeswoman said.

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