There’s a postal mail scam going around whereby a company is sending out fake invoices for web hosting. It’s similar to the fake domain renewal notice scam that goes around.
This scam has been going on for some time. The company names and addresses have varied and changed over time, but names they use (and have used) include:
If you’re asking yourself who would pay a bill from a company they don’t recognize. Most business owners are busy running their business, web hosting is overly-technical and over their head. The “bill” seems official, and the amount seems about right.
As Reddit user Virtualization_Freak points out:
“Accounting panics, not wanting to be blamed for taking the website offline due to not paying bill. Or accounting goes ‘oh, web hosting. That’s important. Better pay it.'”
I’ve written in the past about numerous scams like this, and people sometimes call Martin Investigative Services when they have fallen victim to a scam like this. Here’s the details about these con artists from my perspective.
- They almost always hide behind phony or every-changing company names, addresses and URLs.
- They always use burner phone numbers.
- They change the banking information like you change your socks.
- They operate with impunity because they are a low priority in the eyes of law enforcement. Almost 100% of the time, law enforcement says this is a civil issue and won’t get involved.
- We don’t take these cases as there is honestly not a lot we can do. It is like chasing a ghost with an elusive website, disappearing banking information and untraceable email addresses and telephone numbers.
- They send out many thousands of these invoices.
- The actual number of people who get scammed and send money is pretty much unknown because the victims keep quiet once they get scammed.
As for the web hosting scam itself, you’ll notice that the scammers have even attempted to protect themselves against criminal prosecution by burying some phrasing on the fake invoice: “This is a solicitation for the order of goods and services, or both, not a bill, or statement of account due”. Good luck with that.
Trash it. Move on. One day these people will get sloppy, scam the wrong person and pay the price.