There is a bigger lesson for small-business owners who have fallen victim to purchase-order fraud ["Story of a scam," Business, Nov. 30].
Sound credit practices will not only detect a scam, but will ensure that business owners will be paid within a reasonable time. For 16 years, I have run a small aromatherapy business on Long Island that sells to very large and well-known companies where credit worthiness is not a concern. Understanding the right process to get payment is key.
There have been many credit managers who did not think it necessary to do anything when a first-time order was received from an industry giant. I have insisted that they clarify several things before releasing a first order. One is verifying the contact person responsible for processing payments for our account. You want a name and number in case that invoice passes the 30-day mark. It's too late to start verification at that point!
Other critical questions: Is there a vendor number for you? Are you set up as a vendor in customers' systems? How do they want invoices submitted? How are freight charges handled?
Do customers always require purchase order numbers, and is the one you were given recognized in their system? And, last, do they pay in 30 days, or are there paying cycles that you fall into?
Elizabeth Flaherty, Centerport