Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

BBB warning: School districts nationwide receiving phony invoices; some paying hundreds for books never ordered

by jmaloni


Tue, Sep 9th 2014 06:00 pm

Just in time for back to school, scam artists are targeting school offices with tricky business. Better Business Bureau serving Upstate New York is warning school districts to be on the lookout for phony invoices from Scholastic School Supply. BBB serving Southern Nevada, where the business is headquartered, is seeing an influx of complaints from school districts in 22 states. New York school districts have yet to file complaints with BBB; they are, however, invited to do so should they receive one of the invoices.

Complaints and inquiries to BBB are similar to the phony invoice scam its office reported on last month, where companies received what looked like an invoice for a renewal to Buffalo's Business First.

BBB of Southern Nevada reports Scholastic School Supply allegedly sent false invoices to schools in the amount of $647.50 for a bulk purchase of textbooks that were never requested or received.

Complainants expressed difficulty in reaching the company about the amount owed or products purportedly purchased. Complaints are currently pending while BBB awaits the business's response. BBB's investigation of this company indicated the address is not a physical location, but a mail drop.

BBB has received 51 complaints from consumers located in 22 states so far, and more than 2,000 inquiries for Scholastic School Supply. With numbers continuing to rise in increments of up to 15 complaints a day, BBB advises school districts not to pay the invoice and to advise school personnel to screen all invoices for accuracy. Complaints can be filed with BBB of Southern Nevada by clicking here.

BBB offers tips to spot a phony invoice:

•Read all invoices and solicitations that are sent to your business/organization carefully. Check account numbers and the name of the company sending you an invoice. If you do receive a bill that may appear to be from a legitimate company, look it over carefully for the name and location of the company sending the bill.

Channel all invoices through one department. Clear all invoices with the appropriate employees.

Know your billing. Familiarize yourself with the format of bills regularly sent to you by other companies. Do not be alarmed by language indicating you must pay the bill or that an unpaid bill will be forwarded to a collection agency. If you did not place an order with the company, you are not responsible for paying the bill. To prevent your business/organization from paying a bill it does not owe, educate all of your staff - especially those responsible for paying routine bills - about the variety of scams involving phony invoices and solicitations.

Do a basic Internet search. Search the name of the company sending you an invoice to see if others are reporting similar issues or other problems.

For scam alerts, tips and other "information you can trust," "Like" BBB on Facebook.

comments powered by Disqus