Business Scams! Watch out!
Business Scams! Watch out!
Our firm represents numerous small to medium-sized businesses and we have been asked by many of our clients as to whether they should be paying a particular fee or tax. We want to warn you – look out for phony invoices! At first glance, these invoices might look official but we have received many inquiries on this issue and have saved our clients thousands of dollars (A law firm? Really? Yes, we do). Here are a few tips on how to can avoid business scams and paying a phony fee or tax:
1. Google it! (Sure, Bing it or Yahoo it)
A quick Google search of the organization requesting payment may save you some money. We are a law firm and we use legal research tools; however, there are times when you simply need to Google it.
2. Return Address
Our clients have been receiving invoices like this with return envelopes like this. First, you should notice that this organization is claiming the fee is related to the Statement of Information, which organizations must file with the Secretary of State’s office within 90 days of filing its Articles of Organization. Secondly, the California Secretary of State’s office is located in Sacramento. Two obvious concerns about this envelope’s return address: they’re using a P.O. box and the P.O. box is located in Los Angeles. State agencies, including the SOS, use P.O. boxes and have regional offices in Los Angeles, but a P.O. box or a location outside of your region should raise some suspicion.
3. Phone Number
Generally, legitimate invoices have genuine phone numbers and welcome phone calls. If the invoice does not include any contact information, be skeptical. Also, if the invoice does include a phone number, call it!
If you do not personally handle payments for your organization, inform the person who does.
5. Check Invoices Against Past Payments/Purchases/Invoices
This is one of the most inefficient and possibly ineffective ways of finding a phony invoice, but it might work. First, it might not work because you might have paid phony fees in the past. You may still check any past payments, purchases, and invoices to see whether the invoice you’ve received is legitimate.
This procedure should only take 5 to 10 minutes and can save you hundreds of dollars (even thousands) a year. Good luck! Again, we are a group of friendly and helpful attorneys providing the care and concern each client deserves. If you own a business and have any questions, please contact Sacramento’s Business Attorneys.
*The information provided in this post does not constitute legal advice or opinion. The information is for guidance purposes only. Individual situations vary and you should contact us for a consultation.
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