Educational Consumer Tips

Phony Invoices

Author: Better Business Bureau

Be on the lookout for phony invoices disguised as legitimate bills. Your business might receive a phony invoice demanding payment for membership to a non-existent organization, for instance – an organization with a name very similar to those of legitimate organizations. Sometimes the phony invoice is a disguised solicitation. The perpetrator's hope is that the business will pay the invoice automatically, never even noticing that it's a phony. 

Your best protection against the phony invoice business scam is to always carefully read the invoices your business receives before you pay them. If you are unsure whether or not your business owes payment for particular services or products, call the phone number on the invoice to inquire. Legitimate businesses have genuine contact information on their invoices and welcome questions.

The BBB recommends the following tips to protect yourself from this scam: 

  • Question the services. If your company did not order the services, or does not have a history of business with that company, do not supply any personal information or submit payments. You are not legally required to pay the invoice.
  • Train your staff. Inform employees to be aware of potential invoice scams. Encourage them to flag suspect invoices for review.
  • Keep up-to-date records. Record an updated list of vendors and services your business is associated with to avoid falling for a scam that looks similar to a legitimate company.