It’s one of the oldest scams, sending out invoices to small businesses, doctors’ offices, retirement homes, and religious schools for stuff they never ordered. The scammers would add the name of a legitimate employee as the person authorizing the order.
The latest is an Oklahoma City-based operation that allegedly bilked hundreds of thousands of dollars from small operations throughout the country by charging them for unwanted listings in an online “yellow pages” directory.
Here is the scoop:
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Your Yellow Book (YYB) faxed documents that resembled invoices with the well-known “walking fingers” image to consumers with whom they had no preexisting relationship, asking them to “verify” or “update” their current listing information in their actual listing in YYB’s Internet business directory. The documents requested payment of up to $487 from consumers. Many consumers paid, believing YYB’s claims that their organization had agreed to be listed in the directory. Some consumers were told they would have to pay a fee to cancel.
The FTC noted that a federal court has halted the operation and that litigation is pending.
Best Advice: If you are a small business then have someone check all invoices carefully and give extra scrutiny to invoices coming from unfamiliar vendors for lightbulbs, directory listings, etc.
To learn more about directory scams, read Small Business Scams.
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.