(WOIO) - When you get a bill in the mail, the smart thing to do is pay it. But what if it comes from a company you never did business with? Hundreds of people who received one, tried to call the company, but could never get through. They realized it was a scam. But one person said this is a trick their 84-year-old mother would have fallen for.
If you see an invoice from a company called WebsiteBackup, postal inspector Michael Romano says you should probably trash it.
"The invoice looks very legitimate and it has the standard charge of $70. We looked a little further and if you look on the Internet, you will see other people having similar complaints," he says.
Hundreds of people have filed complaints with the United States Postal Inspection Service about the invoices, claiming they have not done business with the company. Clay Spencer, owner of a rifle store, says red flags went up when he received the notice. He says he's never done business with WebsiteBackup.
"You have to figure this -- this thing here, is 70 bucks. If they send out 100,000 of these and get 1,000 people and they just pay it, that is a lot of money they are bilking people out of," Spencer says.
The postal inspector believes the company in question may be using public business directories to get addresses and send out mass mailings, hoping someone will pay the fee. Investigators say they have tried repeatedly to reach the company, without success.
According to the invoices, the company is located in Phoenix, AZ. The Better Business Bureau rates the company with an "F" rating. Similar to the postal complaints, dozens of consumers have filed reports with the BBB claiming they've received invoices stating they owe $70 to a company they've never done business with. Calls and e-mails to WebsiteBackup were never returned.
However, in a recent complaint with the BBB, the company responded saying, "It has recently come to our attention that a commercial solicitation was sent out to businesses that may have caused some confusion. If any business has received a solicitation that was not marked 'Bill' or 'Invoice' they are under no obligation to pay. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and will no longer use that solicitation in the future."
"If there is money paid and no services rendered, then we have got a violation of the Mail Fraud Statute," Romano says.