FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 19, 2012) — Attorney General Jack Conway today issued a cease and desist order to UST Development, Inc. alleging violations of Kentucky’s Consumer Protection Act. The order follows a phony invoice scheme targeting Kentucky consumers, businesses and government offices. A state agency and two private businesses first alerted the Attorney General’s Office to the scam involving UST.
The mailings originated from La Verne, Calif., and include an invoice of $425 for a “warranty for preventative maintenance” for telecommunication services. The document states: “Thank you for your business” and “Net 30 Days” above the amount allegedly owed. The description of services is “Telecom Maintenance Agreement.” The businesses and agencies contacting the Attorney General’s Office deny that they have entered into any such agreement.
“The phony invoice scheme is an old favorite of scam artists preying on unsuspecting consumers and businesses,” Conway said. “Scammers send out mass mailings like this because a certain percentage of businesses will pay without researching the bill. The best defense is to carefully review all demands for money. My office is committed to protecting Kentucky businesses and consumers from these types of scams.”
If you become aware of such a scheme after payment has been made, immediately contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office, Better Business Bureau, and local postal authorities, Conway said. In most cases you will be instructed to stop payment on your check or money order and file a formal complaint against the company.
For additional consumer protection tips or to file a consumer protection complaint online, visit http://ag.ky.gov/consumers or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-432-9257.
An example of the phony invoice is shown below.