Beware Random Missed Payment Letters

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The other day my fiancée received a letter from the Insurance Program Management office of Marsh Affinity Group Services, a service of Seabury & Smith, out of West Des Moines, IA. According to the letter, written by an Associate Benefit Specialist, Marsh had not received my fiancée’s premium payment for her AICHE-sponsored life insurance plan and her coverage was about to lapse. This letter would’ve been great… if my fiancée had AICHE-sponsored life insurance!

If I didn’t know better, or if she didn’t know better, she likely would’ve called the toll free number in the letter and asked to speak with Samuel Batterson to renew her life insurance policy if she was too busy to recall she didn’t actually have a policy with them. Is this a new style of fishing for clients or just a new style to us? I had seen this type of letter before in which webmasters were sent letters that looked like bills from Domain Registry of America in a scam to get them more business, but I’ve never seen it outside of that instance.

With so many different policies in our real lives, it’s easy to get confused as to which company holds which policy so it’s not entirely impossible for someone to get tricked by this. So, the lesson of the day is to be wary of these types of letters and do your homework. While it’s very likely my fiancée had some sort of AICHE policy while she was at school (and a member of AICHE), that’s a few years back so the coverage probably lapsed long ago anyway. Either way, when you get one of these just double check everything before calling (or sending a check!).

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “Beware Random Missed Payment Letters”

  1. I actually heard a caller on Dave Ramsey’s show talk about a magazine subscription tactic where they warned that they would send you to collections if you didn’t pay the bill – a bill that didn’t exist, but was intended to get more subscribers. I think that this sort of technique will quickly come to a head and there may be some lawsuits coming if companies aren’t careful.

  2. jim says:

    Good call Randy, I remember now hearing the same thing! It’s amazing how many scams there are out there.

  3. RacerX says:

    This is a common tactic with new home owners as well (as I found out). They call try to get my wife and say I signed up for Mortgage insurance. Sounds like something that you would need if you never bought a house before, right?

    Nope, RUN Forest! It’s a scam. At least when sold this way.

  4. Foobarista says:

    I’ve gotten many of these “letters that look like bills” for magazine subscriptions. It appears that they’re sent to an old DBA alias I had when I was self-employed.

    They’re quite sneaky; the letter is clearly in the format of a bill, and sometimes they show up for a magazine that I already subscribe to.

  5. Cory says:

    I receive these types of messages in the mail pretty regularly (I manage a number of client websites and deal with domain name registrations) and they’ve got the same thing up here in Canada (under the name ‘Domain Registry of Canada’.

    I initiated contact with the company because I feel the letters are deceitful, misleading, and an inappropriate form of marketing material. I didn’t get a response but by trying to start a dialogue, I’ll be able to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

    These guys wanted something like $40 / year for basic domain name registration services — something you can get for under $10 from a slew of decent providers. Classy.

  6. Mrs. Micah says:

    I’d seen the domain ones before and I think I heard of the magazine ones. But not insurance. Interesting. It’s sad what people sink to when trying to make money.

  7. GDad says:

    I received one of these letters with “Statement Enclosed” on the envelope. It came from a local art museum. I was livid.

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