Wisconsin Businesses Be on the Lookout for Fake Invoices

By KBJR News 1

Wisconsin Businesses Be on the Lookout for Fake Invoices

April 16, 2012 Updated Apr 16, 2012 at 6:58 PM CDT

Madison, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) --- The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is warning businesses and city governments of a solicitation masked as invoices for a telecommunications services.

Businesses and city government offices around the state have recently received $425 invoices for a “telecom maintenance agreement” from a company in California, despite having made no purchases from the business.

DATCP’s Consumer Protection Bureau has received written complaints from Eau Claire and Racine and businesses in Waupun, Green Bay and Elkhorn.

The Sheboygan Police Department also received this invoice, as did five additional businesses in that area.

The invoices are actually sales pitches for future services. Without questioning the validity of the document, businesses and agencies are at risk of paying for an expense that did not occur.

The Consumer Protection Bureau has sent the California company an official warning concerning their violations of state and federal laws prohibiting solicitations disguised as bills.

This deceptive practice is not exclusive to Wisconsin. The North Dakota Attorney General issued a cease and desist order against the same company in February, alleging that invoices for products that were never ordered or purchased are in violation of that state’s consumer fraud laws.

If you have recently received an invoice for a “telecom maintenance agreement,” be aware that it may be a solicitation. Make sure that your billing department knows if your organization has had any transactions with the sender before you consider making any payments.

If you received an invoice but did not make a purchase from the company, contact Consumer Protection to file a written complaint.

Click here to download a complaint form or file a complaint online.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns