Latest scam is look-alike invoice, BBB warns

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The Better Business Bureau is alerting area businesses about look-alike invoices from a California-based company trying to bill for hundreds of dollars.

The phony bill is actually a solicitation, BBB officials said.

Businesses in several states have reported receiving an invoice from “US Telecom” for hundreds of dollars to cover the cost of a one-year maintenance warranty. The business is based in Ontario, Calif., and also is known as UST Development Inc.

The business has an “F” rating from the BBB in Los Angeles, which has received 143 complaints against the company.

Consumers claim that US Telecom is sending deceptive invoices for services never rendered. The company states the invoice is only for preventive telephone system maintenance for the year to come. The company also states the invoice includes a disclaimer.

A member of the BBB of Southern Colorado board of directors received the deceiving notice.  The BBB offers the following tips for businesses:

  • Be on the lookout for solicitations disguised as bills. Fake invoices sometimes state “This is not a bill.”
  • Carefully review all bills and invoices from companies, especially those that are unfamiliar.
  • Keep a list of regularly used vendors.
  • Establish effective internal controls for the payment of invoices.
  • Verify all invoices with the person who gave purchase authorization.
  • Check the BBB Business Review on any business that has contacted you before signing anything or giving out any payment information.

If you believe you have been misled by this business, you can file a complaint at www.bbb.org.