DNS Services Invoice Scam Alert

Invoice Scam Alert

Have you received an invoice from DNS Services in Vancouver, WA?

Over the last two weeks, we have received inquiries from several of our clients asking about an invoice they received from the company, DNS Services, based in Vancouver, WA.  At first glance, the invoices look legitimate.  A closer look reveals deceptive tactics. Unfortunately, to the unsuspecting party, these invoices may end up in the Accounts Payable Department.

DNS Services invoice solicitation

The DNS Services in Vancouver, WA’s invoice is for Managed DNS Backup Business Services for $65.00 per year.  The invoices list valid Name Servers and Mail Server for the registrant’s domain names along with the registrant’s name and address.  By all appearances, they look like justifiable charges.

Solicitation Disguised as Invoice Scam Alert – The fine print

A closer look at the fine print reveals the true nature of the solicitation tactic.  The graphic to the right has the solicitation disclaimer outlined in red.  Please click the graphic to view a larger version.  The disclaimer states:

This is a solicitation for the order of goods or services, or both, and not a bill, invoice, or statement of account due.  You are under no obligation to make any payments on account of this offer unless you accept this offer.

Several Internet reports have indicated that the above disclaimer statement was not included in the invoice they received from DNS Services. If this is correct, DNS Services could be in violation of mail fraud.

What you can do

If you receive an invoice and do not know what it is for, please do the following:

  • Ask yourself or someone in your company if this invoice is from a company you normally do business with.
  • When in doubt, do not pay the invoice until further investigation.
  • Ask a trusted company like your web design company or hosting company to review the invoice.
  • Investigate the invoicing company with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Check the website, Webutation.net, to inquire if there are any negative reports.

The Law

U.S. Postal regulations prohibit the mailing of a bill-type solicitation without a clear disclaimer.  The USPS Disclaimer requirements include:

The solicitation must bear on its face either the disclaimer required by 39 USC 3001(d)(2)(A) or the notice: “THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PAY THE AMOUNT STATED ABOVE UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER.” The statutory disclaimer or the alternative notice must be displayed in conspicuous boldface capital letters of a color prominently contrasting with the background against which it appears, including all other print on the face of the solicitation and that are at least as large, bold, and conspicuous as any other print on the face of the solicitation but not smaller than 30-point type.

U.S. Postal 39 USC 3001(d)(2)(A)

Your turn

Have you ever received a solicited invoice for services that you never inquired about or agreed to pay?  What steps did you take?

Robin Strohmaier

Robin Strohmaier

Lead web designer and owner at R & R Web Design LLC
Fascinated with the growing potential and power of the Internet, Robin founded R & R Web Design LLC in the Chicago area in 2000. As creative director, she is passionate about helping others reach their Internet objectives through a strategic online presence with results driven custom web design, ethical SEO and marketing.
Robin Strohmaier
Robin Strohmaier
Robin Strohmaier

Fascinated with the growing potential and power of the Internet, Robin founded R & R Web Design LLC in the Chicago area in 2000. As creative director, she is passionate about helping others reach their Internet objectives through a strategic online presence with results driven custom web design, ethical SEO and marketing.

Posted in Scam Alert, Security
30 comments on “DNS Services Invoice Scam Alert
  1. Crazy town! It’s amazing what people will stoop to in business. Thank you for the heads up! I’ll be sharing to all of my peeps…

  2. Nancy says:

    Robin, definitely sharing this post. I actually received a Spam email asking for similar information. Great information, thank you!

  3. Thanks for your post. My wife – who runs one of our family-owned companies – a children’s bookstore outside of Boston – got one of these sketchy invoices. Luckily she showed it to me. One quick Google got me to your excellent post. Thank you! Here’s to the connected universe – cheers, Paul

  4. Sherry Lynne says:

    Robin,
    Thanks for sharing. I would never have known about this scam had not one of my clients asked me to do a blog post about internet scams and the holidays. I don’t know whether DNS’ solicitation was a “creative idea” or was intended to be downright misleading, but is certainly outside the norm of best practices in copyrighting. My current research has not found any action pending on DNS, either by the Feds or the (state of) Washington Attorney General’s office. I sincerely hope that the authorities have put an end to this practice.

  5. Jason says:

    Looked suspicious. Thanks for pointing me to the “This is a solicitation line.” We received one of these too.

  6. Kirk says:

    got one, looks like a real bill and I had to make sure they weren’t stealing something from me already. Went into my recieved scam pile.

  7. Chip says:

    Got mine today. I’m going to mail them a real bill for the time I spent figuring this out to be a scam. I’ll be reasonable with my hourly rate.
    What’s really deceptive is the fact that they create a “statement” with an account number.

  8. Nick says:

    Just got one. I will simply throw this. Speaking of reporting this to the authorities-it is worthless effort. We own a dental office. Several years ago, we got sucked into signing a similar scammer’s letter, fake yellow pages website. When I realized it, it was too late. I checked the internet, they were thousands of people all over the world that were scammed by these crooks. At that time, I still believed in the great american system. I reported them to the FTC, I reported them to the attorney general in California, did the BBB thing. Nobody lift a finger, nada, soooooo dissapointed in the system. The system only works when they need to collect the taxes from you, then it works like a charm, but you are alone in all. I even got a lawyer, finally negotiated to pay pnly $265.00 and got out of it. But nobody helped me, it was mine slepless nights and the feeling of being taken advantage of. So dear friends, just do what I do: somebody calls your business-slam the phone, somebody sends you a letter-trash it. Somebody comes through the door with a flyer-politely ask them to leave. It is a sad, sad world we live in it, but remember-you are truly on your own. My employees are instructed to not give out their names, don’t even use the word “yes” on the phone. And share your experiences. Thanks!

  9. David Landers says:

    We just received this mailer, we have informed the Los Angeles County District Attorney.
    Don’t what will happen but made me feel better.
    Thanks for your post
    David

    • David,
      You are most welcome. It is a shame that this continues. It appears that DNS Services is complying by the U.S. Postal regulations with the required disclaimer, but it is still a deception.

      Please let us know if you hear anything from the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

      ~ Robin

  10. Sherri Lane says:

    I just received one of these DNS “bills” for my small business in Atlanta, GA – thank you so much for your warning about this company!

  11. Designguy69 says:

    I received one. The thing that looked fishy to me after studying it was that they spelled my business name wrong….. I also looked up my account information where my website is seated on GoDaddy.com. Everything was up to date. This is when I started looking at the fine print. Would love to write in bold letters “GET A LIFE!” and fax it back to them but won’t because there’s probably a law about profanity.

    Anyway, I’ve tried to contact the government about scams and nothing seems to happen. I’ve done what I can by posting this website to my Facebook and hopefully it will go viral and spread the word and put these low life’s out of business.

    Good luck to you all!

    • Designguy69,
      It is frustrating that the DNS Services invoice continues to be sent out and is still deceiving some. I hope this article has been helpful and we appreciate your comment.
      ~ Robin

  12. Jim says:

    I filed a complaint with Washington’s attorney general after we received the fake invoice since my accounting department questioned it and it took me wasted time to explain.

    About a month later, I received their (DNS Services) response via the attorney general. It was clearly a template, since I was referred to as a “he” on the first page, and “she” on the second. They claimed no wrongdoing despite the “bold face capital letter” disclaimer being buried, not prominent, and that “direct mail was a key tool for their business”.

    • Jim,
      Thank you for sharing your experience with filing the complaint with the Attorney General. How frustrating to receive template response. It looks like DNS Services has been responding to complaint letters before. It is a shame that they are still sending these “invoices” out.
      ~ Robin

  13. Josh Gree says:

    I love DNS Services. I have used them for awhile and I have never had one second of downtime. They are one of the only providers I know that not only offers 100% DNS uptime, but guarantees 100% DNS uptime. Email and Phone support is included with every plan they offer and it starts at just over $5 per month.

  14. Joe says:

    The company I work for got one of these letters in the mail today and it ended up on my desk. The thing that is funny about this one is that there is no “fine print” indicating that this is a solicitation. Is there any action that we could take against them since they didn’t indicate that it is a solicitation?

  15. Karen says:

    Thanks for this post. Two of our clients received these “invoices,” without the disclaimer. I’ve reported it to the MA Attorney General’s office.

    I’m sorry to hear that others have reported this or other scams with no result. I do think that the more people who complain, the more likely it is that some regulating body will take action. It takes just a few minutes, so I’d encourage everyone to report this. It’s a crime and it should stop.

    • You are very welcome, Karen. It is sad to hear that so many others are reporting this and other scams with no results. I absolutely agree with you that if more people complain, than we can move the regulating body to take action.

      Please let me know how it goes with the MA Attorney General’s office.

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