Actually, this isn’t a new scam – a quick Google search will show it’s been around for awhile. We opened ours today and had a great laugh (we’ve posted the full fake invoice below). You might not find it as funny, but if you read no further, feel free to take it easy.
This scam from “DirectPages411” lists as originating from “PO Box 463 Montreal, QC H2Y 3H3”, but seems to reach both US and Canadians alike. We find these type of scams are probably aimed at the front line folks in your business – the letter is opened, it says invoice, toss it on the bill pile and hopefully it’ll make it’s way through. Of course, it might scare the pants off the uninitiated and plays on popular web service names like “411.ca” (https://411.ca/pages/fraud). The term “411” might ring enough of a bell that a lot might give it a pass.
Once you’ve put your business online, you might find yourself up against all kinds of scams. The most common for us and our clients is the old “Domain Registery of Canada” scam detailed in a past blog post right here. That scam walks a legal grey line. Its pretends to be a domain renewal, however, buried in the text of the scam states “this is not a bill”. Anyone who falls for this fake domain renewal invoice can find themselves transferring their domain to the scammers and having to renew it annually at inflated rates. Sending a payment to this organization will result in phone calls from them to coordinate transfer of your domain name to their management. The good news is you can cut off communication right away, keep your domain name, and learn a hard lesson. The bad news is you’ll probably lose your payment, but consider yourself lucky!
Bottom line: read your mail, research anything fishy (phish-y), and don’t send money unless it’s verified! And like we tell our clients – if it’s related to your website or online presence, ASK US FIRST!
Scott Kasprick is a graphic designer in Brandon, Manitoba and owns and operates Reaxion Graphics while helping his wife raise three lively daughters!