Business to Business

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Scammers not only prey on individual consumers, but businesses, from large corporations to the small "Mom and Pop" stores. No matter whether the scammer used the mail, the telephone, or the internet, the best defense against scams is to follow some basic rules:

Being aware of common scams that could target your business can help prevent your company from becoming victimized.

Farm Schemes

Consumer Protection routinely receives complaints from farmers who have been contacted by out-of-state firms selling fuel additives, pesticides or tools. In many cases, after the consumer agrees to make a small purchase on a trial basis, they are sent larger quantities of unordered merchandise with large bills attached. Even though the consumer says he didn't order the larger shipment, the company says they will turn it over to a collection agency if the bill is not paid. See the Unordered Merchandise section of this handbook for more information.

Telemarketers typically try to place their sales calls early in the morning and catch the farmer before he goes to the field or out to do chores. If you receive a call of this kind, take the time to make an informed decision by checking out the solicitor and by comparing prices with local businesses.

Fake Invoices

Schemers know that businesses sometimes get very busy and can make mistakes in accounting. Fraudulent people prey on these weaknesses by lifting names from mailing lists, business registers, the Yellow Pages, or published advertisements and send "fake" invoices for directory listings or advertising. To the company's accounting department, the invoice may seem genuine and may even include the name of a company executive as the "authorizing agent." However, the invoice may be a solicitation in disguise and in very fine print contain the following disclaimer: "This is a solicitation. You are under no obligation to pay unless you accept this offer."

Toner Phoners

Office supply schemers frequently operate from a supply warehouse thousands of miles from their prospective victims. The schemers target all kinds of businesses and organizations, including restaurants, professional offices, religious groups, schools and hospitals. They generally sell products needing constant replacement, such as office and maintenance supplies. While the schemers use many different ploys, the following are some common tactics used.