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No company is too big - they all can be used to pull off scams!  

Scams are abundant on the web.  One particular scheme that is growing at a rapid rate involves the nationally renown business directory, Yellow Book, formerly known as Yellow Pages.  Similar to a fax directory scam, this one typically involves a few phone calls.  Here is an example of how it works:

The scam scenario

Someone calls claiming to be representative from yellowpages.com.  The intent of their call is to verify an order that was previously placed.  Purposely they seek out new workers or anyone uninformed enough to give up the information they seek.  Believing that the order was legitimately placed, the employee willing gives up details such as an address, phone number and other information.  They make the biggest mistake by stating that they understand what the service is how much the charge will be. 

Some time down the road, the representative calls again.  They now state that the invoice is past due and needs to be paid in its entirety.  At this point, the scam artist may be lucky enough to get the same employee or someone in management who wants to dispute the claim.  If it's the latter scenario, they may play a recording of the conversation to prove that the order was indeed legitimately placed.  Still not convinced, the manager states that the previous employee had no authorization to place an order for service the company had no interest in, reminding the caller that they were only making a verification. 

From there, the scam artist gets tactical.  He informs the manager that there will be stiff  penalties for not making payment.  They may be threatened with legal fees or collection agencies, being led to believe that the business's credit score will be effected by the ordeal.  Depending on the reaction from management, the caller may demand a partial payment.  They may even be willing to settle the balance for mere pennies on the dollar.  They exclaim to need some form of payment in order to spare the company's credit scores.  At this point, there is a need to be very suspicious of the caller.  Keep in mind that very few legitimate companies will be willing to make such a settlement on the first attempt at collection.  If they are only able to accept a payment by phone, it is very likely that this person is looking to swindle the company out of whatever they can. 

Aware of the scam in process, the manager continues to refuse while the caller carries on with legal threats.  Realizing that things are going nowhere, the manager ends the conversation and plays the call as if it never even happened.  

Months pass with no letters, faxes, phone calls or further problems from the Yellow Pages representative.  Finally, the madness ensues once again.  This time it's a different rep who is a bit more polite.  Casually, they bring up the invoice and explain that the account needs to be paid.  Now they're willing to accept anywhere from $100 to $200 less than before.  After asking for proof of the order, the representative states that the order was securely confirmed via telephone.  Once again it is up to the manager or employee to determine if the order is truly legitimate. 

Discerning the real from the scam 

When presented with this deceptive scheme, the best thing you can do is to confer with Yellow Book and question a representative about an order for service.  If no order has been placed, it is safe to assume that the yellowpages.com service was a scam.  By doing a bit of research, you will find that many organizations and individuals have fail victim to treacherous sales methods. 

If you wish to advertise your business in such a directory, be sure to call the local Yellow Book agency in your area and speak with a representative.  In most cases, a rep will meet with you directly to discuss a legitimate contract.  This is an example of a genuine advertising service - anything else is liable to be a scam. 

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