You open your mail, see the usual bills, and go ahead and make payment. But, did you or your staff take the time to review and understand the invoices? If not, you may have just become another victim of a fraudulent invoice scam.
Fraudulent invoice scams are solicitations circulated via mail, email, and fax that look like legitimate invoices for your business. Frequently these phony invoices are for goods or services your business routinely acquires.
The invoices are designed to look like legitimate bills and often include a reference or account number as well as a payment due date. The amounts due are typically small enough that a business may pay without much suspicion and almost always include words of urgency to get a response quickly and without much questioning.
Some common fraudulent invoice scams are:
- Advertising – Directory and Phone Book Fraud: Digital and print advertising.
- Communication Services: Networking and telecom services, including domain registrations and renewals.
- Equipment Maintenance Contracts: Contracts associated with all facets of your business.
- Office Supplies: Copy paper, general office supplies, and toner.
- Patent Assertion: Invoices and letters demanding licensing fees for the use of patented technology.
- Solicitations: Designed to appear as an invoice or bill.
To avoid becoming a victim of an invoice scam make sure:
- You and your staff are properly trained and aware of fraudulent invoice scams;
- To match all invoices with actual orders and verify the accuracy of all invoices received prior to making payment;
- To contact the vendor directly with any questions using contact information from your records, not from contact information contained on the invoice;
For additional information relating to fraudulent invoice schemes, contact your local United States Postal Inspection Service. If you believe you or your business has been victimized by an invoice scam or wish to report suspicious activity, please file a report here.