Scammers order chaos for your business

Share This Page

Some scammers specialize in tricking people into paying for things they didn’t order. They often target businesses because they know that, in some businesses, the people who order supplies and the people who pay the invoices might not talk all the time. The scammers bet on the bill-payer assuming the invoices are for things the company actually ordered. And if the scammers are right, they can cash in big.

That’s what happened to businesses that fell prey to two schemes the FTC shut down. The FTC filed these lawsuits in 2016 and 2014. Today, we can tell you that these companies can’t go on tricking business’ employees anymore.

These two companies’ fraud targeted a wide range of businesses and nonprofits: from churches and family-owned small businesses, all the way to hospitals, hotels, and even an airport. Their schemes resulted in businesses paying thousands of dollars for supplies (lightbulbs, hand cleaners, kitchen cleaners) they didn’t order or want. One organization paid over $20,000 before it caught on to the scam and stopped paying for the recurring shipments. And that was the right thing to do – not pay for unordered products.

Here’s how you can protect yourself and your business from unordered merchandise scams:

  • If your business or a place where you volunteer receives merchandise no one ordered, the law says the vendor cannot legally collect on it. You don’t have to pay for it, even if someone used the supplies before you realized they were unordered. You don’t have to return it either.
  • Make sure your staff – including anyone who answers the phone – knows who has authority to order and pay for supplies. Scammers may target less experienced employees or occasional volunteers.

Want more tips on how to protect your business from scams? Visit FTC.gov/SmallBusiness.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Comments

great report........thank you.........

Thank you for alertting all of us to this issue.

Outstanding advice for ANY business, even hobby businesses and sole proprietorships. I hope more of these outfits are in your gunsights and they're quickly eradicated. Thanks for your efforts!
I report every phone call, email or USPS contact to the appropriate places at the FTC and love to see this kind of useless wastes of skin go to jail. They WILL be back under different names of course, and I always wonder if you look for their return to bau.

Terrific information. Thank you!

My Name Antonio. I have a problem with the company Ctu Security domicile in Miami Fl. USA ) make a payment in November of 2016 for usd $ 32,000.00 for 340 products, to this date no I have received a return of my money or sending the merchandise that I do ...? The president of this company tells me only lies since January this year 2017
Can you help me solve this problem ...?

Since you're not in the U.S. you can file a complaint at econsumer.gov.

I receive lots of bogus emails with bogus invoices attached. If there any place that these could be forwarded to? Might be able to get an IP address to catch them. Thank you , Debbie Stokes

You can file a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint and note that you're filing this complaint on behalf of your small business or organization (so that we know that the scam was targeted at a business). Then, you can copy and paste the email on the "Tell Your Story" section.  Save the original email in case you're asked to forward it to an investigator later. Thank you.

What about having that situation for an individual. I received bills from The NY Times for a sucription that I never ordered. Trying to contact them over the phone was very difficult because the only way to do that was entering my account number and by doing that I was accepting that I had a subscription with them. When I finally was able to talk to a human being they said that they had a subscription on their records and therefore I had to pay, period. They would not provide evidence of my request to open an account. After that any attempt to contact them was like hitting a brick wall. They sent me to a collection agency and the harassment continued, so reluctantly I paid the $17 charge and ended the discussion. But what if it had been a larger amount ?

please shred all those cards that come in magazines requesting subscriptions its easy for anyone to fill them and drop them in the mail no postage needed and cut out or trash the address on your magazine

You could have demanded the collection agency come up with proof of your subscription, and disputed the debt with them. Failure could have given rise to a Fair Debt Collections Practices Act claim. Also, you could have filed a complaint against the collection agency with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You may still be able to do so.

I don't answer My phone if I don't recognize the number. If it's important they'l leave a message.

Great comment- but what about the less savvy who do not have caller ID?

Inventory is a complicate word. the reality is that no one cant stick to a budget, At least we can fix a budget, but scammers knows that also, and are hurting everybody at any times.

A foreign people calling me at random times, if I go to lunch or if I am going to be off that day, I got that call, I know why they call...they know where I work , what time I work and when I am off and what I do for living. How they know? I don't know , they do. I answer my calls most of the time because of this scammers, yes because this scammers. I have to listen to them and tell them what I think and today's day I get less calls. Some times is better to pick up the calls and tell them to stop. I had received calls from "debt collectors" asking for an account is not even mine!, from some one saying is from IRS and so on, I do my taxes every years even when I wasn't born yet :) (joking) So I know just by seeing who is a scam and who isn't.

So you are saying that if I get a package that I did not order, it is mine and I do not have to pay for it? I see an open window for another type of fraud here.

The I.R.S. calls are a scam. If you did not receive a letter prior to the call, they are from a criminal call center. Tell them this is a scam and do not call again!

Thank you for the message, it is really a strong piece of what allowed me to allow company. It is really so that if you do not know the numera and no message left behind never recall or withdraw. Again I was 3 packaged by companies which I did not order (I sent back) and bills written on my name. Who has the reth something to do?

I believe I got scamme by Eloans Financial for 700.00 dollars by buying them ITunes cards for different amounts

You can report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

One of the first cases I worked on after law school involved a company that cancelled their coffee service, but kept getting boxes dropped on their doorstep.

Anyway you can get money back for these types of scams?

My company has had its identity stolen. Someone has opened a credit card PROCESSING account, is charging random people between $140 and $550. The charges are showing up on their CC statements with my company name and phone number. We tell everyone that calls to dispute the charge immediately. I cannot get any credit card merchant service to help me find out who opened the account. I don't know how I'm supposed to handle this, as all advice is for people who receive phony charges.

I was scammed by a company that represented themselves to be the Yellow Pages for my small business. All it said was did I want to continue with my Yellow Pages ad and did not ask for any payment. So I checked the box. It had the Yellow Pages logo on it. Then I got a bill for about $400 with my previous agreement superimposed on a fake agreement to pay. They bothered me for months and I threatened them in many legal ways and I googled the scam. They finally gave up but it took a long time and it was very irritating. Then I thought about people who just have other people paying their bills and how this could be a problem. These people even had the Yellow Pages logo.

This scam has been going on for decades because the real yellow pages ad was never copyrighted or trademarked. So scammers can use it to perpetuate their scams. Watch any yellow pages mailings/offers very carefully.

I received a special edition to Play boy many years ago. I just laughed; I obviously did NOT order this, but I gave it a good home. My then boy friend loved it.

I told Play Boy I did not order their magazine, and they cancelled me and said I could keep their special edition, which I already knew, ha ha ha.

Well, there is just another group picking up where these left off operating as US Standard.

I received a call identified as Joy Mining Equipment which is located nearby.I used to sell materials for manufacturing and they were an excellent customer. Looking at all aspects,I answered the call thinking it was legit and the idiot on the other end wanted my credit card info so we could settle a problem that we have before it goes to court. Needless to say I hung up !!!

Leave a Comment

Comment Policy