Jessica Theriault shows the invoice she received this week for services she never ordered. Theriault, owner of The Gallery in Central Plaza wants to warn other small business owners to be on the lookout for similar bills. (Tracy Holmes photo)

White Rock merchant warns of invoice scam

Jessica Theriault says she received $800 bill for services she never ordered

A White Rock merchant is warning small business owners to watch for invoices for services they never ordered, after she received a bill for nearly $800 this week.

Jessica Theriault admits she paused for a moment after opening the bill she received Tuesday.

She thought perhaps the tab was connected to an online business-listing update she’d done for her art-supplies and framing store, The Gallery, a week prior.

But the Central Plaza merchant’s uncertainty as to whether it was a scam evaporated when she noticed the bill was dated in April, and demanded payment by May 6.

“I knew that I only did this just last week,” Theriault said, of updating her business listing.

Through further research, she learned she wasn’t alone in receiving the bill. A December 2016 story in the Ottawa Citizen details the similar experience of a business owner in that city.

Both bills demand payment be sent to a post office box in Montreal.

Theriault said she contacted Peace Arch News in an effort to get the word out and hopefully prevent others who may receive similar invoices from making payment.

“For small businesses to be diligent,” she said. “Make sure it’s a service that you’ve actually done or used or purchased.

“It looks legit,”she added of the bill. “I’m sure they just kind of hope that some people just pass it on to their accounts receivable.”

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre advises business owners to compile a list of companies that are typically used by their business, and limit the number of people who have authority to approve purchases and pay bills. As well, inspect invoices thoroughly before making a payment.