Scammers are targeting business owners with a new version of the fake invoice scam

INDIANA – Your business receives an invoice or a notice out of the blue. The letter or email demands that you purchase posters to comply with federal and state labor laws. Other versions of the con insist that you owe a penalty for not displaying the posters. 

One small business owner in Greenfield reported, “I received a letter in the mail that said I am required to post a Labor Law Compliance poster in my place of business and it will cost me $94.00 or I’m subject to a $7,000 fine. This piece of paper has my business name and address listed on it. I have zero employees. The address they have listed for themselves is of a UPS store in downtown Indianapolis.” 

Scammers hope their scare tactics will get you to pay up without doing further research. It turns out that only part of this con is true. For example, in the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does require all covered employers are required to display a poster in their workplace informing workers of their rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. However, these posters are available for free on OSHA’s website.  

How to Avoid Labor Law Poster Scams 

  • Understand the laws about workplace posters. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) does require some notices to be posted in workplaces, but the DOL provides free electronic copies of the required posters. You should never have to pay for posters to be in compliance with DOL regulations. 
  • Get to know government regulations for your business. If someone tells you your business hasn’t complied with any other state or federal regulations, check with official government sources to inquire about the requirements and how to meet them before you pay a third-party to handle the matter. 
  • Carefully inspect invoices and payment notices. Before you pay any invoice or send money for an unsolicited service, find out if the company who initiated contact with you is legitimate. Look for an official business address and phone number and look over their website. If you can’t find any real contact information for the company, that’s a red flag. Do a search including the company name and the word “scam” to see if others have spotted a scam relative to the correspondence you received. Never pay an invoice without double checking that it’s for a service you authorized. 
  • Don’t give in to scare tactics. Scammers love to scare victims into paying, so it’s important not to panic even if you’ve received a threatening letter. Think twice and do your research before you pay.