Phony invoices scams are big business for scam artists. Common scams involve look-alike yellow page invoices, many of which use the “let your fingers do the walking” logo, but scam artists also send phony invoices for toner cartridges, photocopy paper and other office supplies, as well as for digital/online listings or services. The phony invoice often includes bold type for “renewal” or “past due” in the hope the business will pay it without paying close attention.
- Before making any payment, make sure there is a corresponding authorization for the invoiced item or service.
Small businesses across the state have also been targeted with online scams. Often, the business receives an email from a supposed prospective customer who wants to place a large order. The phony customer pays with a check for more than the order amount, with instructions to wait until the check clears and wire the extra sum onto a third party. Unfortunately, even if the phony check clears the local bank, it will be identified by the federal clearing house as a counterfeit and the bank will reverse the deposit. Another scam involves phony business merit awards, in which the business owner is informed that the business has been voted or designated as a “best” in the business category. The business is offered a discounted organization membership as part of the award recognition. Of course, there is no award or organization; instead, the scam artist pockets the membership fee.