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?
Well if it bears the name Trademark Publishers with the TMP logo on the letterhead the answer is simple, chuck it in the bin.
It’s a registry scheme. The fake invoice has been sent from Austria via the United Kingdom.
The scammers are hoping in the bustle of daily business the false invoice will slip through the accounting process and be paid.
The Australian bank account number and postal address appear to be a virtual office, set up to redirect mail overseas, and take your money.
A close inspection will show a clause advising Trademark Publishers is not associated with the Federal Government agency responsible for Trademarks, IP Australia, but this disclaimer could easily be missed.
IP Australia has issued warnings about unsolicited invoices for IP Services.
Our investigation shows the scam is being run in as many as 15 countries, aiming at businesses large and small.
The Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) says history shows scammers often prey on busy small business operators regarding them as soft targets, so it’s important to have a purchase order system where numbers can be matched to invoices before any payments are made.
What does a business get for payment of the $1450 sought on the account? Nothing much that we can see. Businesses should always be wary of unsolicited accounts and ensure invoices are for goods or services rendered to their satisfaction. Certainly throw out any bearing the name Trademark Publishers.