Scammers are targeting business owners with a new version of the fake invoice scam.
This time, instead of sending an invoice for fake services, con artists are asking business owners to pay up, for free labor law posters.
1. How does this scam work?
Your business receives an invoice or notice out of the blue. The letter or email demands that you purchase posters to comply with federal and state labor laws. Other versions of the con insist that you owe a penalty for not displaying the posters.
Scammers hope you will pay up without doing further research because their story is only partially true.
2. Can you give us an example?
One small business owner reported the following experience: "I received a letter stating I must pay a $79.25 document fee for posters to be in compliance with Labor laws." The letter stated if the fee wasn't paid immediately, the business owner would be fined seven-thousand dollars.
3. How can we avoid the scam?
- Understand the laws about workplace posters. The U.S. department of Labor does require some notices to be posted in workplaces, but the DOL provides free electronic copies of the required posters. You should never have to pay for posters to be in compliance with DOL regulations.
- Get to know government regulations for your business. If someone tells you your business hasn't complied with any other state or federal regulations, check with official government sources to inquire about the requirements and how to meet them before you pay a third-party to handle the matter.
- Don't give in to scare tactics. Scammers love to scare victims into paying, so it's important not to panic even if you've received a threatening letter. Think twice and do your research before you pay.
4. What should you keep in mind when inspecting invoices and payment notices.
Before you pay any invoice or send money for an unsolicited service, find out if the company who initiated contact with you is legit. Look for an official business address and phone number and look over their website.
If you can't find any real contact information for the company, that's a red flag. Do a search including the company name and the word "scam" to see if others have spotted a scam relative to the correspondence you received.