Afni - Scam?


I got a letter in the mail on Saturday from a company named Afni, Inc., a debt collection company. This letter informed me that my debt of $188 to DirecTV was being collected by them. Of course, I've never had any dealings with DirecTV (aside from interviewing for a job there a couple of years ago), so I knew that this was a bogus notice. Come Monday morning, I called their 1-888 number and, after waiting on hold for 20 minutes, was connected to a bored-sounding agent. She asked me for the last four digits of my social security number, verified that the account wasn't mine, and said that they would stop the collection proceedings.

Now, their customer service, it wasn't bad. Once I got off hold, it took less than five minutes for them to realize that I wasn't the nan that they're looking for. But let's just consider this situation for a moment. I moved to this city a month ago, and somehow it seemed possible to them that I was the man who owed DirecTV $188. They obviously have his social security number, since they could verify that I'm not him, but they sent the bill to me anyhow. Did they just blanket-mail all the people in the city with my name, in the hopes that somebody wouldn't notice that it wasn't their bill and would pay? Is this some kind of a scam to associate my name and address with the last 4 of my social so that if I ever do default on a debt they know where to find me? I don't know, but I'm pretty sketched out by it.

The Internet has lots of stories about Afni trying to collect on bogus debts, and from them, it seems that this is a pretty unscrupulous company. I guess I should take it as a sign that I've moved on into the real world that there are people trying to scam me out of my money now...