False billing scams request you or your business to pay fake invoices for directory listings, advertising, domain name renewals or office supplies that you did not order.
How this scam works
Your business might be sent an invoice, letter or invitation to be listed in a bogus trade directory or to renew your website domain name. Or the scammer might phone you out of the blue to confirm details of an advertisement booking or insist you've ordered certain goods or services. These scams take advantage of the fact the person handling the administrative duties for the business may not know whether any advertising or promotional activities have actually been requested.
Fake directories and advertising
Fake directory invitations will often include a form to be filled out and ask for your business contact details with an approval signature. You might be led to believe that you are responding to an offer for a free entry, but the form you are asked to complete is a disguised invoice or contract with the amount owed hidden in tiny print.
Alternatively, the scam might appear as a proposal for a subscription to a magazine or journal. These are often presented to look like those used by genuine directory publishers.
Another common method is for the scammer to phone a business asking to confirm details of an advertisement they claim has already been booked. The scammer might quote a genuine entry or advertisement your business has had in a different publication or directory to convince you that you really did use the scammer’s product.
If you refuse to pay, the scammers might try to intimidate you by threatening legal action.
Domain name renewal scams
Australian website domain names are registered with accredited domain name registrars and resellers, and must be renewed every couple of years. All registrars and resellers of .au domains in Australia are accredited through the industry self-regulatory body .au Domain Administrator (auDA(link is external)).
Domain name renewal scams can work in different ways. You may be sent an invoice requesting payment for a domain name that is very similar to your current domain name – the scammer hopes that you don’t notice the difference and just pay the invoice. For example, it may end in ‘.net.au’ instead of ‘.com.au’ or the ‘.au’ at the end may be missing. It may even be for a domain name in another country, such as ‘.cn’ for a China web address.
Alternatively you could be sent a letter that looks like a renewal notice for your actual domain name, but it is from a different company to the one you have previously used to register your domain name.
The sender may claim that another company is seeking to register the same domain name, but they are giving you the brief opportunity to secure the name first. You will be told your chance to use the domain name will end if you do not pay immediately.
Payment redirection scams
Using information they have obtained by hacking your computer systems, a scammer posing as one of your regular suppliers will tell you that their banking details have changed. They may tell you they have recently changed banks, and may use stolen letterhead and branding to convince you they are legitimate.
They will provide you with a new bank account number and ask that all future payments are processed accordingly. The scam is often only detected when your regular supplier asks why they have not been paid.
List of Scams
8 November 2019
Fake Mobileciti website cold calling to sell phone plansRead More...
In October 2019, consumers received calls offering great mobile phone plans with a cheap contract offered by mobilecitii at www.mobilecitii.com website. It required a driver’s licence number and Medicare number to sign up. The fake website was set up to appear to be the legitimate mobileciti website and to draw victims to a legitimate-looking website.
Tech support scamRead More...
If you’ve fallen victim to a scam where a pop-up on your computer advised you had a virus and you had to call a specific number and pay for technical support to fix it, you’re about to be hit up for more money by the scammers.
Do not call register scamRead More...
Cold callers are asking for a ‘fee’ to keep you on the Do Not Call Register. The callers claim they are from the ACMA’s Do Not Call Register and ask for your credit card details.
Alinta fake billRead More...
We have a reported loss of $1350 in a phone scam where the caller pretended to be from Alinta Energy and threatened to cut off the power over an unpaid bill.
Telstra fake refund scamRead More...
Phishing emails are a dime a dozen but we thought this one which purports to come from Australian Internet service provider BigPond was worth a warning.
AGL - Energy company email scamRead More...
WA consumers are receiving scam emails claiming to be from AGL, an energy company not currently registered to supply or sell electricity and gas in Western Australia.
Yellow Page directory scam returnsRead More...
WA businesses have been receiving bogus order forms and invoices for unauthorised directory listings and advertising from scammers mimicking the Yellow Pages name and logo.
Carbon price scamsRead More...
WA ScamNet is warning consumers and businesses to be on the look out for carbon price scams.
Construct Data trading as FairGuideRead More...
If you’ve showcased your business at a trade show or exhibition lately – BEWARE!
WA ScamNet has identified the re-emergence of ‘FairGuide’ - an on-line directory scheme targeting businesses that have recently taken part in trade shows around Australia.
Employment Protection AustraliaRead More...
Hundreds of Western Australian businesses received official-looking letters threatening dire penalties for failing to have Employment Protection Australia's 'Place of Employment First Aid Supply.' So what's the problem?
Google CashRead More...
An offer of paid work for typing from your home computer can be very tempting, but beware – it could be another scam to actually take money from you!
Industry and Commerce - Register of Business InformationRead More...
A European publishing company, first identified by WA ScamNet in 2006 continues to invite you to submit an ‘update’ of your business details for the Australian section of an international CD-ROM and Internet directory.
International Biographical CentreRead More...
How much would you be willing to pay for the title of ’International Professional of the Year’?
Presidential Who's WhoRead More...
It doesn’t get much cheekier than this – an overseas directory listing scheme has tried to con WA’s Commissioner for Consumer Protection via email.
Princeton Premier.ComRead More...
Targeting the Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll for an internet scam may not seem like the brightest idea, but then scammers are not often accused of being smart or honest.
Telstra fax scamRead More...
Telstra has urged customers to ignore a hoax fax that resembles Telstra correspondence and asks customers to provide bank account details.
Trademark PublishersRead More...
You get a bill in the mail. It looks genuine. The Company’s name and logo are big and bold. It has a Sydney postal address and Australian Bank account details. It all looks right but you don’t recall your business placing an order and can’t find a record of it. What to do?
Who's Who in Australia RegistryRead More...
A scam that appeals to the professional ego is circulating by fax offering recipients a listing in the “Who’s Who among Executives, Professionals and Entrepreneurs in Australia.”
World Business Directory (WBD) and World Business Guide (WBG)Read More...
Emails and letters to businesses have been circulating offering a listing in the “World Business Directory” and “World Business Guide” with Updating is free of charge! in bold.
Yellow Page schemeRead More...
A misleading fax has been turning up at business premises across WA. It’s for a $129 per month scheme run under the website www.yellowpage-westernaustralia.com
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