Maine attorney general warns schools, businesses about invoice scam

Posted June 15, 2012, at 4:06 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Attorney General William J. Schneider is warning schools, businesses, municipalities and other government agencies about a mailing that appears to be a bill for services rendered but is a disguised solicitation that may mislead recipients to pay for services that were neither ordered nor received.

The mailings, from a California-based company called UST, appear to be bills requesting payment for telecom maintenance agreements in the sum of $425. The billing invoices contain no product information and no indication that a contract is offered, giving the misleading impression that the service has been rendered and payment is now due.

“We have heard from local school and city purchasing agents who received these invoices but had never done business with this company,” said Schneider in a statement. “This solicitation is a ruse and organizations should not be fooled into paying for something they never ordered.”

U.S. postal regulations do not allow the mailing of a bill-type advertisement or solicitation without a clear disclaimer. The disclaimer must be in very large type and must be in boldface capital letters in a color that contrasts prominently with the background against which it appears.