This isn’t an editorial so much as it is a warning. In happened once before and apparently is happening again: A few unscrupulous sales people are sending invoices to Nation advertisers for unauthorized ads in their own publications. In the past they would look at the Nation advertisement, copy it and then send a tear sheet (taken from their publication) along with an invoice. Many people and organizations paid it without checking closely.
I can’t say how they have gotten the names of people or organizations these days but they are sending invoices for advertising you never ordered.
The new method works something like this:
1) A phone call is placed to your business or entity.
2) They ask the name of the person they are talking to.
3) An invoice will arrive with this person’s name as the contact person in the organization.
4) If you question it they will tell you that this person (usually the receptionist) ordered the advertising.
5) If you still do not agree to pay it they will threaten you with legal action. Sometimes if you say they have to send a Purchase Order No. or a copy of the Purchase Order to verify the invoice they will ask you to send a blank to help in their search.
Do not send a blank purchase, even if you write void on it. It is not hard to create a copy of it if you have an example before you.
Remember that if you did not order it you are not legally bound to pay for it. If the trouble continues then give us a call here at the Nation at (514) 272-3077. We’ll be glad to assist you into clearing up this matter.
Another option is to contact your local police department as this constitutes fraud and is a something they can be charged with.
Contacting the Better Business Bureau and consumer protection agencies is another good idea.
Online you can visit http://canadaonline.about.com/od/consumerprotection/.
Another little scam that is associated with the above is classified directories. Fraudulent directory schemes succeed because the promoters misrepresent their directories by associating them with well-known similar publications. As in the above unsuspecting business, people and entities are asked to pay to advertise in a worthless or non-existent directory. Ensure the classified directory you may want to advertise in is legitimate.
The rules are simple: investigate before investing and know who you are doing business with. Check with the Better Business Bureau, a chamber of commerce, or federal and provincial departments of consumer and corporate affairs.
The RCMP say to watch out for the following scams:
THE BIG PRIZE SCAM
Legitimate lottery, prize and sweepstakes administrators never charge up-front fees to deliver your prize. This is one of the most common scams – if you send money you will never get it back. Neither, it goes almost without saying, will you ever become a millionaire in this boondoggle.
CREDIT OFFER FRAUD
Students, new Canadians and people who have experienced credit problems are often approached by fraud artists who offer low-interest loans and credit cards – for a fee. People who pay the fee don’t receive their loan or card, and they never get their money back.
Don’t give out driver’s license, bank account or social insurance numbers on the phone or Internet. Legitimate businesses contacting you by those means won’t ask for that information. If you are purchasing something, be sure you are buying from a legitimate business before you give your credit card information.