UST Sends Phony Invoices
to Middle Tennessee Businesses
(June 20, 2013- Nashville, Tennessee) – BBB warns businesses to be on the lookout for misleading, phony invoices from UST that our flooding the Middle Tennessee marketplace.
US-Telecom, Inc., US Telecom, UST Development, Inc. or UST, with addresses in LaVerne and Ontario, California, is sending out what appears to be a bill requesting a $425 payment for services rendered, but in reality, it is an attempt to sell a maintenance agreement for telecommunications systems. (see example below)
Several businesses in Middle Tennessee have reported receiving the notices in recent weeks. Recipients of the bogus mailer include a freight forwarding company, a general contractor and a distributor in Nashville.
“I almost paid the invoice,” said a representative of one company, but after calling BBB, he discovered it was simply an attempt to collect money for services never requested. None of the businesses that contacted BBB had ordered the service.
One of the most common variations of the “phony invoice scheme” is issuing solicitations disguised as invoices. These documents, which are actually solicitations for the purchase of goods or services, are carefully designed to look like legitimate invoices for goods or services ordered and received. In some cases, the small print may identify the bogus bill as a solicitation and it is generally strategically placed so the recipient will most likely overlook it. The business that pays the bogus invoice may receive the merchandise or service it was duped into ordering, but more often, it will not. Many times, efforts to trace the fraudulent firm that issued the "invoice" will prove futile.
The U.S. Postal Service requires solicitations that look like invoices, bills, or account statements to contain one of the following statements:
- THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PAY THE STATED AMOUNT ABOVE UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER.
- THIS IS A SOLICITATION FOR AN ORDER OF GOODS OR SERVICES, OR BOTH, AND NOT A BILL, INVOICE OR STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT DUE. YOUR ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO MAKE ANY PAYMENTS ON ACCOUNT OF THIS OFFER UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER.
To protect your business from a phony invoice scheme, BBB suggests the following:
- Channel all invoices through one person or department in your company.
- Check all invoices against purchase orders and against goods or services received. Make certain that order numbers correspond with the invoices.
- Verify all invoices with the person who gave written or verbal authorization.
If you receive a phony invoice or a solicitation disguised as an invoice, report the matter to the Better Business Bureau and US Postal Service
(example of Phony Invoice)
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When in Doubt, remember to check with BBB for information on
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