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Official looking notice not from the government

ROANOKE–The tear-off letter looked official, it even had a governmental sounding name- National Processing Center. The return address was even on the very same street as the White House, Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. Something, however, just didn’t seem right and so the consumer called the Better Business Bureau. Turns out she was correct; it wasn’t from the government at all.

New mailings are showing up in the mailboxes of western Virginia seniors from a “National Processing Center” claiming “a new program is now available” and “these approved programs may pay 100 percent of all final expenses.” Basically a polite way of saying funeral costs.

The company’s address is listed as PMB # 220, 325 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Washington, DC, but that is not a physical address. All correspondence is delivered to a postal mail box. This company should not be confused with the main center for the U.S. Census, also named The National Processing Center. The U.S. Census has no connection to these mailings. The use of this same government center name has been confusing recipients and leading some seniors to mail back their personal information.

America’s Recommended Mailers Inc. was sued in 2006 by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott for “bombarding seniors with deceptive, unsolicited mailers designed to dupe them into sending the companies their personal information.” National Processing Center was named as America’s Recommended Mailers Inc. alias or assumed name. The same Washington D.C. postal mail box being used in these mailings was also listed in this lawsuit.

“We advise consumers to be cautious when asked to share personal information with unknown parties. This is not a government agency,” said Julie Wheeler, C.E.O. and President of BBB Serving Western VA. “These mailings fail to give any company name, phone number or physical address. There is no way of knowing who is receiving your information or what their intentions are.”

As of this writing, National Processing Center has an F rating with the BBB serving Metro Washington, DC and Eastern Pennsylvania. Check out the company’s BBB Business Review at http://www.bbb.org/washington-dc-eastern-pa/business-reviews/elderly-senior-specialty-services/national-processing-center-in-washington-dc-1033799 to see its BBB rating, complaint history and more.

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