CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning business owners of a scam circulating through West Virginia in which business owners are getting fake invoices for allegedly being listed in telephone directories and social media.
The invoices, some of which are for thousands of dollars, are sent by American Yellow Group Inc.’s Outsourced Accounting Department with a return address of Varna, Bulgaria. The design of the invoice includes the familiar “walking fingers” logo, which makes it appear as though the business is being charged for its inclusion in a telephone book’s yellow pages. However businesses who have received the faxed invoice said they never contracted with the company for the service.
“This is a classic example of a directory listing scam that some business owners fall for simply out of panic. The scammers imply that failure to pay the bill immediately will result in the issue being referred to credit bureaus and other authorities,” Morrisey said in a press release. “We urge businesses who receive this invoice to contact our office and their telephone provider to ensure it is not a legitimate bill.”
The Attorney General’s Office has received a dozen complaints about the invoice from businesses throughout the state, including Petersburg, Charleston, Follansbee, Terra Alta, and Delbarton. The businesses being targeted also vary. The AG's office has received complaints from private businesses, medical offices, an insurance firm, a public service district, and a municipal government.
The Better Business Bureau has given American Yellow Group Inc. an F rating. On its website, the BBB says the address provided on the invoice is nonexistent and the phone number provided is only sporadically answered.
“Scammers will target anyone who they think will pay, including businesses,” Morrisey said. “We urge business owners to disregard the invoice and report it immediately.”