Another scheme that targets businesses has been hitting mailboxes across the St. Louis area recently: bogus invoices from California-based US Telecom.
Several businesses told the Better Business Bureau that they were on the verge of paying the $425 'bills' before calling the BBB. The bills were for preventive maintenance agreements for telecommunications equipment. None of the businesses who called the BBB had ordered the service.
The invoices used a variety of business names, including US-Telecom Inc., US Telecom, UST Development Inc. or UST. The company has an "F" rating with the BBB. More than 900 complaints have been filed against the company with the BBB in the last three years, including 700 in the last year.
Several state attorneys general, including those in Missouri and Illinois, have sued the company or issued cease-and-desist orders because of the misleading notices.
Phony invoices are a common scam targeting businesses. Some scammers attempt to bill companies for directory advertising, office supplies they didn't order or other products and services. The BBB advises companies to check any purported invoices carefully to be sure it is for services the company has authorized.
Before authorizing any service, the BBB advises consumers and businesses to check a company's BBB Business Review.