BBB Serving Central VA Warning: Fake Invoices Fooling Small Businesses

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BBB serving Central Virginia is issuing an alert for a popular scam that’s preying on businesses. The trick involves deceiving companies into paying for fake and non-performed SEO work.

Fake Invoices Fooling Small Businesses

“This [scam] is a particularly disgusting scam as it preys on the unsuspecting accounts payable offices in especially multi-location companies, said Barry N. Moore, Central Virginia BBB president.

BBB serving Central Virginia is issuing an alert for a popular scam that’s preying on businesses. The trick? Deceive companies into paying for fake and non-performed SEO work. “This is a particularly disgusting scam as it preys on the unsuspecting accounts payable offices in especially multi-location companies, said Barry N. Moore, Central Virginia BBB president.

How the Scam Works:

Your accounting department receives an email or a piece of snail mail with an invoice for search engine optimization (SEO) services that were supposedly performed. The amount owed is usually under a thousand dollars, and scammers hope your business pays without further investigation. In one recent report, a business received an $829 invoice from a company using the name "National Media Group" seeking payment for "Business SEO Service."

Invoices for SEO services are currently the most popular ploy, but BBB has also received reports of phony invoices for domain names, directory listings, and other internet services. These are a contemporary version of the old office supply and directory advertising scams that have plagued businesses for years.

How to Avoid Falling Victim:

  • Double-check your invoices. Invoices may appear professional, but if you don't recall hiring the person or company in question, verify the source and the services before sending payment.
  • Train your employees. If you have an accounts department, train your employees to recognize a scam. Set up a system for verifying invoices so your employees can make the right call when approving payments for goods or services.
  • Research the company online. If you receive an invoice that seems fishy, research the company. Make sure they have a legitimate website and working contact information.

For More Information:

To learn more about scams, go to http://www.BBB.org/ScamTips. If you've been targeted by this scam, help others avoid the same problem by reporting your experience at http://www.BBB.org/ScamTracker.

For more BBB information please contact the name and number provided with this press release.

About BBB serving Central Virginia: Provides service to Richmond, the Tri-Cities, Charlottesville, and Fredericksburg, as well as 42 surrounding counties from Fauquier to Mecklenburg and Northumberland to Amherst. The nonprofit organization was established in 1954 to advance responsible, honest, and ethical business practices and to promote customer confidence through self-regulation of business. Core services of BBB include business profiles, dispute resolution, truth-in advertising, consumer and business education, and charity review.

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