Payment Card News

Light Bulb Scam

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Light Bulb ScamYou’re just a small business person and an invoice shows up for office light bulbs or cleaning supplies. It’s a scam that has been around for 30 plus years and may finally be ending.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requested a federal court to temporarily halt and freeze the assets of an operation that bilked nonprofits, businesses, and municipalities out of millions of dollars by deceptively sending them overpriced light bulbs and cleaning supplies that they never ordered. The FTC seeks to permanently stop the illegal practices and make the defendants return victims’ money.

The FTC says the scammers called organizations throughout the country and falsely indicated that they had previously done business with them; that the call was to confirm a shipping or mailing address or follow up on a supposed previous order; that they were offering a free sample, catalog or gift; or that they needed an employee’s name and contact information for some purpose other than a sale. The FTC says the scammers often did not identify themselves accurately or clearly disclose that it was a sales call, and sent consumers merchandise after misleading them and without their consent.

Many consumers paid the fraudulent invoices, thinking the employee named on the invoice had ordered the merchandise. The person who processed the invoices was often not the same person who received the shipments and did not know the merchandise was never ordered.  Consumers who paid thinking they were obligated to do so became targets for future shipments of unordered merchandise. Those who questioned the invoices were often pressured into paying by the scammers by claiming that they had audio recordings verifying the order (which they failed to produce) or stating they would accept a “discounted” price as payment in full.

Here is the latest scam/scum bag list from the FTC:

Midway Industries Limited Liability Company, also doing business as Midway Industries, Midway Industries LLC, and Midway Industries of Delray Beach LLC; Commercial Industries LLC, also d/b/a Commercial Industries, Commercial Industries of Palm Beach LLC, and State Electric & Power LLC; National LLC, also d/b/a National Distributors, National Lighting & Maintenance, National, and National of Delray Beach LLC; State Power & Lighting LLC; Standard Industries LLC, also d/b/a Standard Industries and Standard Industries, LLC; Essex Industries, LLC; Johnson Distributing Limited Liability Company, also d/b/a Johnson Distributing, Johnson Distributing MD, Johnson Distribution, and Johnson Distributors; Hansen Supply LLC; Environmental Industries LLC; Mid Atlantic Industries LLC; Midway Management, LLC; B & E Industries, LLC; Eric A. Epstein; and Brian K. Wallen.

If you were bilked by any of these firms or individuals contact the FTC and hopefully get a refund.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

Also, stay on top of the latest scams with CardTrak’s #SCAMTRAK.

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