Thursday, August 20, 2015

BBB warns of fax scam

Burnsville, Minnesota – August 20, 2015 –Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is warning businesses in Minnesota, North Dakota and particularly the St. Cloud area to be on the alert for what appear to be bills for computer support faxed from an Oklahoma firm using the name CPU Service, Inc. The company has an F rating with BBB of Central Oklahoma. A business organization in the St. Cloud area received the questionable fax earlier this week and reported it to BBB.

According to BBB of St. Louis, which issued an alert on this company earlier this year, these faxes are actually advertising solicitations, offering 12 months of online computer support and consulting. But businesses in the Missouri area that received the faxes reported they could easily be confused with invoices asking for payment. Under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, it is illegal to fax unsolicited advertisements under certain circumstances.

CPU Service Inc. uses a postal box in Oklahoma City. The faxes show an email and a fax number, but no phone number. Attempts by BBB of Central Oklahoma to reach the company have been unsuccessful. That BBB now reports the entity is not at the location listed on faxes businesses nationwide – and recently in the St. Cloud area – have been receiving.

“There are many things about this ‘offer’ that don’t add up,” says Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “The fact the business isn’t even at their listed address is simply the shady icing on this suspect cake.”

The fax received by the St. Cloud business organization refers to a “preorder” payment of $190. Faxes business in the Missouri area received sought payments between $390 and $590. Instructions on the fax request that checks or credit card payments be sent to the company via mail or fax.  A disclaimer at the bottom of the fax notes: “This is a proposal for the order of goods or services, or both, and this is not a bill, invoice, or statement of account due. You are under no obligation to make any payments on account of this offer unless you accept this offer. Your organization and our company have in the past not done business together.”

BBB offers the following tips on avoiding potential business-to-business schemes:
  • Deal only with reputable firms. Do your research at
  • If you receive what appears to be a bill or invoice in the mail, email or via a fax, read all information carefully to determine whether it is a request for payment. Solicitations can sometimes appear to be bills.
·         Designate certain employees as buyers. For each order, the designated buyer should issue a purchase order to the supplier that has an authorized signature and a purchase order number. The buyer also should send a copy of every purchase order to the accounts payable department, and keep blank order forms secure.
·         Advise employees who are not authorized to order supplies and services to say, “I’m not authorized to place orders. If you want to sell us something, you must speak to ________ and get a purchase order.” Develop some standard procedures as far as who orders and receives merchandise.
·         If you receive merchandise, the receiving employee should verify that the merchandise matches the shipper’s bill of lading and your purchase order. Don’t pay any supplier unless the invoice has the correct purchase order number, and the information on the invoice matches the purchase order.
·         If you receive bills for goods or services you didn’t order, don’t pay. Treat any unordered merchandise you receive as a gift. It’s illegal for a seller to send you bills or dunning notices for merchandise you didn’t order or ask you to send back the merchandise — even if the seller offers to pay the shipping costs. 

The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. We are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.

Highway 59 detour south of Plummer begins Aug. 24

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Motorists on Highway 59 between Plummer and Brooks will experience a detour beginning Aug. 24 as crews replace the box culvert over the Lost River.

The 12 mile detour follows Highway 92, Red Lake County Road 12 and County Road 1. It is expected to last about one month, weather permitting.

Davidson Construction is the contractor for the $1.11 million project. The work will ensure a smoother and safer roadway with better drainage for motorists in the region.

MnDOT urges motorists to follow these recommendations in work zones: stay alert; watch for signs, equipment and workers; minimize distractions, such as using cell phones, eating or drinking; avoid tailgating; follow posted speed limits and directional signs; and stay in one lane while driving through the work zone.
For real-time traffic and travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit, call 5-1-1 or log on to

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Bicycliststo tour central Minnesota Aug. 13-16

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Motorists may notice an increased number of bicyclists on central Minnesota highways Aug. 13-16 for the annual Bicycling Around Minnesota event, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Approximately 275 bicyclists will travel through Brainerd, Pine River, Crosby and Little Falls on several highways, local routes and bicycle paths during the four days. Bicyclists will travel from 60 to 80 miles each day. Support vehicles may also be on the road during the event.

MnDOT reminds all travelers to share the road and follow all traffic safety laws. 

The law is clear—bicyclists and motorists shareresponsibility. Here are some “rules of the road” to improve safety for both bicyclists and motorists:

·         Motorists should be on the lookout and watch for and yield to bicyclists before turning.
·         Bicyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic.
·         Motorists must maintain a three-foot clearance at all times when passing a bicyclist.
·         Bicyclists must obey all traffic control signs and signals, just as motorists.
·         Motorists and bicyclists must yield the right of way to each other.
·         Bicyclists should communicate their intent by yielding to traffic and signaling before turning or changing lanes.
·         Bicyclists must use head and tail lights when it’s dark.
·         Bicyclists should always wear helmets and bright reflective gear.
·         Motorists should stay alert and avoid distracted driving.

For more information about the 2015 Bicycling Around Minnesota event, visit

For more information about the “Share the Road” bicycle safety education program, bicycle crash statistics and resource materials, visit