Your Better Business Bureau sends warning of the following business supply schemes:
Fake Invoices: Scam artists send an invoice for a product commonly purchased by the business. For example, paper or other office supplies, in hopes that the busy staff will pay the funds without question.
BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has been notified that Nationwide Services of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida has allegedly attempted this scam this summer. The business has BBB's lowest rating, an "F."
Printing Supply Scams: Con artists call the front desk and ask for the serial number for a printer or copier. If the employee gives this information, the scammer will use the details to forge an assumed agreement and automatically send toner or other printing supplies to the business with an invoice for payment.
For other business supply scam examples visit our Web site.
BBB suggestions for avoiding business supply scams:
- Train your staff. Advise employees who are not authorized to order supplies and services to refer any such sales people to the purchasing department.
- Require sales pitches in writing. The purchasing department should be instructed to not respond verbally to unsolicited phone offers for office supplies.
- Institute strict purchasing and accounting controls. Every purchase should be documented by issuing a purchase order to the supplier with an authorized signature and a purchase order number. The handling of invoices should be centralized and authorization closely checked.
- Don't deal with unknown sellers. First check the business' BBB Reliability Report at www.bbb.org.
- Keep a list of regularly used vendors. This will help protect your business against schemers who claim your business previously used their services.
- Know your rights. If you receive supplies or bills for services you didn't order, don't pay. According to the Federal Trade Commission, by law, it is illegal for a seller to send bills or ask you to return unordered merchandise.
Report office supply scams to the Federal Trade Commission and your state Attorney General. If there is an unresolved issue with a particular business, file a complaint at www.bbb.org.
About your BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington:
Your Better Business Bureau is a not-for-profit organization funded by Better Business Bureau Accredited Businesses. The BBB's mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. For more information about the services and products provided by your BBB, call 206-431-2222 or 253-830-2924 in Washington, 503-212-3022 in Oregon, 907-562-0704 in Alaska, or visit our Web site at www.bbb.org.