MCI invoice a fake; charging fees companies never used

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

Megan Kennedy, office manager at Kleinsmith & Company PC, worked for several days in June with the Kootenai Title in Coeur d’Alene to finish a property sale.

Telephone calls, faxes and email exchanges and the deal was done… or was it?

“It was like we opened the bill from MCI and looked at each other,” she says. “There were eight calls, with similar amounts and two various times.”

Kennedy and Lory Kleinsmith called the billing inquiries number seeking an explanation to the charges.

“The best explanation we could get was our service provider had had some difficulty and channeled the calls through MCI,” Kleinsmith says.

Kleinsmith and Company switched to CableOne nearly two years earlier.

“We’ve never had any dealings with MCI,” she says. “CableOne said there were no problems on those days.”

For $39.40, it doesn’t seem to be too much, but if they are billing a lot of businesses, it will add up. Kleinsmith said Kootenai Title received a similar invoice for $39.40.

“I contacted CableOne who handles our phone service, and they informed me that this is a nationwide scam,” she says.

BBB offers the following tips.

  • Make sure accounts payable is vigilant in spotting solicitations that look like an invoice. Some lookalikes will state “This is not a bill.”
  • Keep a list of all contracted vendors and businesses, including the name and phone number of each contact.
  • Carefully check any bill or invoice from an unknown business. Contact the business to ask for documentation, dates of service, proof of delivery of goods and a reference number.
  • Establish effective controls for paying invoices. Collect receipts or bills of sale from purchasers, and verify authorization of all invoices.

1 Comment

Filed under Scam alert

One response to “MCI invoice a fake; charging fees companies never used

  1. Mark Burrows

    When I noted the bit that some lookalikes, “This is not a bill” I would send them a handsomely computer generated bogus check, with a copy of their statement highlighting, “This is not a bill.” and put in large letters across the check, “this is not a check”.
    I have all kinds of computer generated checks for banks that do not exist. On the front bottom right hand corner they are printed sample only. On the back, It is printed Attention Teller, this check is a mock up and used for advertising only.
    Still, criminals try to put them through. Because they try to obscure the sample only and the mock up information, it only puts them into deeper waters. When I am questioned as to my purpose to having such checks in my possession, I simply answer, “You’ve caught your crooks”, and since the checks come from a batch showing original state and that they are clearly marked as samples and mock ups should satisfy their curiosity that I fight fire with fire. Since I am well known by law enforcement specialists. They tend to give me a bit of leeway where I have assisted in them getting their man.

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