AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about fake invoice mailers that are starting to pop up in Austin.
Christine Chen runs a small business, Moth to Flame, a video production house. She recently received an invoice in the mail saying that she owed $1,188. “To say I owned this much money I was like what,” said Chen. “I started to be a little worried when they started to mention the collection agency.”
Chen pointed out that the invoice had her signature on it and was sent from YellowPagesUnited which has the same logo as the Yellow Pages director. Chen pointed out that she was surprised to get the invoice, because she had never advertised with the company.
Just in the last week, another person reported to the BBB that they got an invoice from a phone company mentioning a cable line that was cut on their property and that they owed almost $500. “These fake invoices are coming through the mail which for some people can feel more legitimate,” said Erin Dufner, chief marketing officer at BBB. “It can be difficult in this particular case the consumer reported that they got a large bill, because they are doing technology upgrades in the area.”
As for Chen, she never paid the bill, but has started to read the fine print. “I watch every single thing. Budget is tight. We analyze everything that we spent money on, for this to come in and for someone to do that, it’s not very cool at all,” she explained.
KXAN tried to reach contact Yellow Pages and wanted to know what the company is doing to warn customers, but has not heard back.
These incidents were reported through the BBB’s Scam Tracker which allows consumers to find out about problems reported in their area. The map details when they were reported along with how much money was lost. Since the site launched last year, the BBB says more than 40,000 scams have been reported.
The BBB also says red flags should go up if consumers don’t recognize the company:
- Look at the address and see if you’re a customer of that company
- Check for contact information listed
- Find company on a bill at home or online and call them directly to get more information