Snail Mail Scams 

a visual advertisement featuring a warning about snail mail scams. On the left side, there's a photo of a senior woman reading a piece of mail with a concerned expression, suggesting she is reading a suspicious or alarming piece of mail. The right side of the image has a geometric design with teal and purple colours and contains text that reads "Beware: Snail Mail Scam Alert! Tips to avoid falling victim to postal scams." The layout is designed to be informative and eye-catching, with a clear message about being cautious with mail that could potentially be a scam. The ASCCA logo is present, indicating that this is a message from the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association.

Beware of Snail Mail Scams: Overpriced Business and Domain Renewals 

In today’s digital age, one might assume that traditional ‘snail mail’ no longer poses a significant risk for scams. However, an old scam that still catches businesses off guard involves the mailing of official-looking invoices for the renewal of business names or domain registrations at significantly inflated prices. 

How the Scam Works 

The scam typically operates by targeting businesses with renewal notices for their business name or domain name. These notices appear legitimate, often using the business’s actual registration details, which are publicly accessible. The invoice, however, quotes a renewal fee much higher than the standard rate. The scammers rely on the hectic nature of business operations where administrative staff might pay the invoice without realizing the discrepancy. 

The Cost of Complacency 

For businesses, the financial implications can be substantial—not only are they tricked into paying more than necessary, but in some cases, the payments go to fraudulent entities that do not offer any actual renewal services. This could lead to the lapse of legitimate registrations if the real renewal deadlines are overlooked. 

Protecting Your Business 

Here are several strategies to protect your organization from falling victim to these deceptive practices: 

  1. Verify Before Paying: Always check the source of any invoice or request for payment. Compare the renewal rates listed on invoices with those published on the official registrar’s website or your previous renewal receipts. 
  1. Educate Your Staff: Make sure that everyone involved in the payment process understands the need to scrutinize invoices, especially those related to renewals of essential services. 
  1. Maintain Accurate Records: Keep detailed records of when actual renewals are due and which services are registered with legitimate providers. This helps in quickly identifying any discrepancies in unsolicited renewal notices. 
  1. Report Suspicious Invoices: If you receive a suspicious invoice, report it to relevant authorities such as consumer protection agencies or postal inspectors. They can investigate and take action against fraudulent activities. 

By staying vigilant and educating staff, businesses can protect themselves against these low-tech yet potentially costly scams. Remember, if an invoice raises a question, it’s worth taking the time to ensure it’s legitimate before making a payment.