Better Business Bureau Warns of Fake Invoices in West Michigan

There’s another reason floating around in West Michigan for businesses to pay close attention to the bills they received before arbitrarily paying them without questioning first.

The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan is warning businesses across the region about a company that has been sending out solicitations that appear to be invoices.

The “invoices” include a due date, account number and an amount of $180, payable to Vicco Web LLC. The mailings look like normal invoices a business might get from a vendor. While there is a disclaimer in the middle of the page that says the mailing is a solicitation and not a bill or statement of amount due, the Better Business Bureau has heard from a number of businesses who feel the mailing is deceptive. Some businesses have mistakenly paid the amount believing it was, in fact, an invoice. Others came close to falling for the scheme.

One Grand Rapids-based painting company says, in a complaint filed with the Better Busienss Bureau, “Had our accounts payable department not been vigilant they would have paid an invoice for a company we do not work with.” Worse yet, it would have been paid without receiving any services whatsoever.

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It is not clear the extent of the web hosting services that Vicco Web LLC offers for $180. Several of the links on the Vicco Web website do not even work. Investigators with the Better Business Bureau visited the Grand Rapids address on the invoice, however the address is a virtual office, that rents space to another virtual office, which rents to a mail forwarding company, which apparently works with the people behind Vicco Web LLC. BBB has been unable to verify the identity of the owners of Vicco Web, and whether it is connected to several other companies using identical mailings and similar website designs.

Phil Catlett, President of the Better Business Bureau Serving West Michigan says, “Businesses need to closely examine all mailings or emails that appear to be a bill,” and adds, “Attorneys General from across the country have warned about similar mailings, which are intended to trick businesses into paying a bill they don’t owe, usually to a business they have never heard of.”

The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan has shared the findings of their investigation with state and federal law enforcement agencies for review and possible legal action.

If you business receives such a solicitation, you are urged to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org or to the Better Business Bureau Scamtracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.