Scam Alert: Did We Really Order This?

  
     
August 01, 2014

Order ScamsLAS VEGAS, NV - In recent months the Better Business Bureau serving Southern Nevada has seen an influx in Nevada based business to business scams. The tactics that we have observed these “companies” utilizing are as follows;

One of the “companies” will contact local small and medium sized businesses by phone to verify “existing” orders for supplies. When calling, they speak to employees who do not have purchasing power within the company, and simply ask to “verify” a shipping address. Unknowing employees verify the requested address, as that is a routine question for customer service representatives in any place of business. Shortly after this seemingly routine phone call a package arrives for the business containing unsolicited goods and an invoice for an average of $600 dollars.

Another of these operations takes a slightly different approach, in which they cold call small and medium sized businesses asking if they would like to “renew” their contract for search engine optimization (SEO) services, or if they would like to cancel at this time. Employees and business owners, not recognizing the service as one they pay for, typically request to cancel, at which time they are faxed a final invoice for $600.

Once the invoice has been sent to the business, these two operations behave in the same manner, harassing the victim for the alleged owed amount, and threatening collections, or even damaged credit scores to collect on it, all the while leaving business owners to question if the product or service was even requested to begin with. Typically if the victimized business stands their ground on the matter and continues to ask for substantiation of the debt, the unsolicited scammer will soften to begin offering discounted settlements, and eventually disappear altogether.

How to protect your business from these unwanted products or services scams:

  • Always check out a business with the BBB before you chose to do business with them.
  • Train your employees so that they are aware of these types of scams. It is always better to take a name and number and have a supervisor call back later if you aren’t familiar.
  • Ask for substantiation of the order, such as a recording of the call, or a copy of the written contract.
  • If you feel a sale was made using inappropriate sales tactics, contact the BBB for assistance, and report the behaviors to the Federal Trade Commission.

-If you and your employees do not remember making a purchase, refuse to pay until you have received appropriate substantiation of the debt, it is not unrealistic to expect documentation of a transaction.

-Check out the FTC’s recent release on Small Business Scams at the following web address:

http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/0512-small-business-scams

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