For years, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been warning businesses about yellow page directory scammers. You know the type; they send you an invoice for a directory listing they claimed you ordered, but never did. When you resist, they claim to have an audio recording of someone at your company agreeing to the listing. Actually, they have proof that the answer was “yes”, although we don’t really know what the question was.
If you don’t pay, they threaten to send you to collections. Unfortunately, fearing a black mark on their credit reports, some small businesses, churches, nonprofits and local government agencies paid, and were bilked out of millions of dollars, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
The bad news is that it’s difficult to stop these scammers, mostly because they operate outside of the United States. The good news, however, is that the FTC – along with help from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – just shut down three of these scam companies that were based in Montreal. It may be the tip of the iceberg, but it’s definitely a good start.
The best way to protect your company from these directory scams is to:
- Educate employees about the scam
- Set up systems to weed out bogus bills
- Use free BBB resources and bbb.org to check out questionable companies
- Report the scams and file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov, so that law enforcers can stay ahead of the curve.
For more information about this recent FTC action, click here.