Businesses Beware! Yellow Pages scam is back

scam-alert-pic-300x168BRANDON — It’s an old con and as with most scams, it sound like the real thing, but it isn’t.

Scammers are invoicing companies for online ads they never placed and using the Yellow Pages name to lend them credibility. A Waynesboro business owner contacted BBB serving Mississippi about an invoice they received for services that they did not receive or agree to.

“Unfortunately, some businesses just pay because they don’t want to ruin their credit”  said John O’Hara President/CEO of BBB serving Mississippi. “They use a well know name and create fake websites and invoices to trick people into paying for services they have never performed.”

How the Scam Works:

You are at work. You receive a call from someone representing a website, which they claim is an online version of the Yellow Pages. The caller says he is updating the directory and asks you some basic information, such as your office’s address, telephone number and email. After you answer, the representative repeats the information back to you, and you confirm the listing.

A few weeks later, your office receives an invoice for several hundred dollars for an ad from the Yellow Pages online directory. But you never agreed to that!

When you call to complain, the representative says that you verbally confirmed the placement. He or she even plays back a spliced version of your previous conversation. The altered recording makes it sound like you were agreeing to place an ad, when you were really saying “yes” to the listing information.

How to Protect Yourself Against This Scam:

  • Hang up. Don’t confirm information from unknown callers. This just gives the scammers something to use against you.
  • Remember, the Yellow Pages name and logo is not trademarked. Scammers are able to use the name and “walking fingers” icon to lend credibility to their scam. They are not affiliated with the famous phone directory.
  • Don’t trust Caller ID. Scammers have technology that lets them display any number or organization name on your screen.
  • File a complaint with your BBB. BBB has resolved hundreds of complaints against businesses that have been accused of this scam. Go to bbb.org/mississippi to file a complaint.

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