Ohio schools report invoice scam

Published 12:09 pm Monday, September 8, 2014

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has warned that schools throughout Ohio are reporting phony invoices sent to their schools.

“Schools are saying they’re receiving invoices for books they never ordered,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We want Ohioans to be aware of this potential scam, so that no Ohio school districts end up paying for something they never ordered or received.”

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received at least six complaints about these invoices since Tuesday, but according to reports, many additional schools have been affected.

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In their complaints, schools say they received an invoice in the mail from Scholastic School Supply for books they never ordered. For example, the invoice may say the school owes $647.50 for an English-Language Arts Practice Book. The invoice requests payment on or before Sept. 15, 2014. Scholastic School Supply lists an address of 1350 E. Flamingo Road in Las Vegas, but it does not appear to be associated with the Scholastic Corporation.

Generally in an invoice scam, the scammer sends a phony invoice hoping the organization will pay before realizing it never ordered or received the products.

Scammers often use names that are similar to well-known businesses to make their scams seem legitimate. For example, businesses sometimes receive invoices for “Yellow Page” advertisements they never placed.

Schools and other organizations should remember the following tips to avoid potential scams:

• Encourage your treasurer to watch for invoice scams.

• Make sure the invoice is coming from a valid source.

• Check out the company that is sending the invoice.

• Centralize purchasing and billing so that the person or persons paying the invoices know what was ordered and who the vendors are.

• Do a basic Internet search to see if other organizations have reported similar problems.

• Report potential scams to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.

A copy of the reported invoice is available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.