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