Bogus Directories – Listing scams have been around almost as long as the yellow pages, but scammers are still tricking businesses into paying to be listed in bogus yellow pages publications or on bogus websites – to the tune of millions of dollars a year.
How to Recognize a Scam – You’ve probably seen them before—they look like legitimate bills, usually with the walking fingers symbol (not trade-marking that logo is often cited in B-school classes as one of the biggest IP errors in business history). Sometimes they look like a monthly phone bill, a verification of listing information, or a check. And by endorsing the verification or check, you agree to their terms and conditions. The scammers are careful to stay just within the legal guidelines, so their solicitations usually include the following verbiage, in very small type:
THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PAY UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER.
Online scams can often be harder to recognize than print directory scams because the medium is newer, the billing is less standardized than for print, and advertisers are afraid of missing out on the rush to go digital.Here is an example of what a listing scam solicitation looks like.
If You Get Scammed – If you or one of your employees gets scammed by mistaking a solicitation for a legitimate listing service, you will likely need to take some action to avoid having to pay. Unfortunately, it’s often a challenge just contacting the bogus publisher – there is usually just an 800 number and/or website. But fortunately, we offer a service negotiating the waiver or reduction of these charges.