Fraudulent Yellow Page Listing Scam - Beware It's Back!

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While this is not a new scam, it is by far one of the most persistent that continues to resurface and plague small business owners.  I have researched countless articles and stories going back years regarding the FTC's investigations and shut down of these Yellow Page scam operations. As recently as this summer, the news was littered with stories of the FTC's successful shut down of a major Yellow Pages scam operation that evolved to the US out of Canada and Australia.  However, the Yellow Pages scam is like a relentless parasite and continues to surface as recently as this week.

This scam operates in several variations, however, most commonly used by the scammers pretending to be part of the real Yellow Pages. The "walking" Yellow Pages fingers logo, we are all so familiar with, is actually not a trademarked symbol.  Because of this, scammers can easily create fictitious invoices, websites, email signatures, and publications using the Yellow Pages name and logo.

What we know about the most recent operation is from hundreds of business owner complaints coming in from the past 6 months. While there may be several of these scams going on, most the business complaints we reviewed are referring to a group operating as "Public Yellow Pages" out of New York City.  The company address listed on the fraudulent invoices we reviewed, reflect the business address of 405 Lexington Ave, The Chrysler Building, Floor 26, NY, NY 10174.  The address alone is impressive and for those of you that are not aware, this is the very home of the New York Times headquarters and several other very prestigious businesses.

These scammers start out strong out of the gate by attempting to deceptively establish a front of a huge, legitimate business operation. However folks, I assure you, these scammers are not operating out of an office on the 26th floor of the grandest building in New York City!

THE SCAM AND HOW IT PLAYS OUT

Scam operations are successful if they have the right components in place, which we often refer to as the "Fraud Triangle". The Fraud Triangle consists of these 3 components, Opportunity, Rationalization and Pressure, all of which are very present in this Yellow Pages scam. I will refer to these below as I explain how this scam evolves. Fraud Triangle.jpg Part 1 - The friendly 'cold call' - In the Fraud triangle we call this OPPORTUNITY which is defined in a scam as the initial solicitation by the offender in regards to their potential victims.

It's a normal business day, just like any other, and you or your staff answers the phone. The person on the other end explains that they are from the "Yellow Pages" and just need to verify a few pieces of information regarding your "free" business listing in the Yellow Pages for renewal purposes. The conversation seems to be innocent enough and after all, their opening statement clearly leaves one with the impression they just want to verify your free listing is accurate.  However, at this point, unknown to you, the caller has turned on a recording device and begins to ask a rapid series of "Yes" or "No" questions, recording your voice.  Note, one of the questions commonly asked is "Are you authorized to make company decisions?"  Still at this point, the questions are vague and seem normal in the course of verifying company information is accurate. One is left to assume they are asking this because they want to insure the person verifying the company information is actually an authorized company employee. Once the caller is done asking the questions, they simply thank you for your time and hang up.

Part 2 - What is this invoice for? - In the Fraud Triangle we call this RATIONALIZATION which subsequent to a successful solicitation, this involves the use of deception and misrepresentation of facts by the offender.

Now, several days later your fax machine signals an incoming fax and low and behold, there is an  invoice for $599 from the Yellow Pages for your "new business listing".  The invoice has a Yellow Pages Logo, website, email, and a 1-800 phone number to call with questions.  The scammers have taken great pains to set themselves up to appear as legitimate as possible. In most cases we have read, faxing invoices makes it more difficult to track these scammers and will be their preferred method of contact.

The fake website they created will even have your company information listed!  Now at this point, knowing that you did not order anything, you call the 1-800 number ready to complain.  Trust me, they are ready for you. I actually think this is the scammer's favorite part. So, you dial the 1-800 number, it is answered professionally by someone who you believe is a "Yellow Pages" representative and you begin to complain about the invoice you received for services or business listing that you did not order. The representative pretends to be sympathetic and brings their "Supervisor" online to speak with you. In the most recent scam, this is probably going to be "Tyler Wood" or "Ron Williams" from "Public Yellow Pages Network", 800-861-9495.

They are quick to tell you that you or your employee agreed to the listing over the phone and they have the recording to prove it. They will play for you a recording of a generic sales pitch, that you have never heard before, however, at the end, well wouldn't you know it....your recorded voice comes across saying "yes" when they ask if you agree to the renewal listing agreement. They then argue with you that your employee or you verbally agreed and your company is obligated to pay the $599. For those of you that really become irate, they offer to take off $100 to $200. What sweethearts these scammers are!

To the contrary, victims of this scam will actually discover that these scammers are not so friendly from this point forward in the game. I have read countless stories about their repeated threats to ruin your credit and business reputation and even telling business owners to call their local Attorney General to verify what they are doing is legal.  At this point, it's like a good game of poker folks....they are calling your bluff to see if you will fold! DON'T DO IT! 

Part 3 - Imitating a Debt Collector -In the Fraud Triangle we refer to this as PRESSURE, and in this particular scam the notion of pressure is used as a final tactic to instill fear or provoke an impulsive reaction from the victim to subvert further negative consequences.

Now, when the scammers have tried every means of intimidation on a business owner, and have yet to get them to pay up, their final trick up their sleeve is to pretend to be a mean debt collector. Here again, they go through great pains to make themselves appear to be legitimate debt collectors. They set up alias companies with real attorney names that they know practice debt collection. This is their last ditch effort to make you believe that they have actually turned it over to a debt collector and you have one last chance to save yourself!  They will even offer to take a "Partial Payment" if you will pay immediately over the phone with a credit card.

Now they want YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION?! Oh this part makes me cringe, as I can't imagine anything worse, first being harassed by these scammers, and then to boot, them having my CREDIT CARD information!  I would encourage anyone that has been victimized with this part of the scam to CLOSE THAT card down now and file a fraud complaint with your credit card company. In some cases, you may even be able to recover your money. I will discuss this in more detail below.

What to do if you have been a Victim of this scam?

First, rest assured that the FTC, every State Attorney General, the  BBB, The National Counsel of Fraud in D.C., the USPS postmaster,  and countless of other law enforcement organizations are not only well aware of this scam, but have countless documented cases from small business owners.
 
If you are a business owner and feel that you have been a victim of this scam, it is very important to have the incident documented by filing official complaints with the following organizations:

  • Your State Attorney General's office. Most State Attorney General websites offer online complaint forms with an area to upload relevant documentation, such as the invoices received.
  •  
  • Business owners should also report the incident by calling the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft Hotline, toll free: 1-877-438-4338; TTY: 1-866-653-4261.
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  • The state BBB, where the scam operation claims to be based - In several cases, when businesses file a complaint with BBB against the fraudulent Yellow Pages company, the BBB contacts these operations regarding the complaint, they state that they have audio taped receipts for the online advertising services. Upon review of the audio, the operation claims there was a 'misunderstanding' and agrees to terminate all fees, as well as to remove information about the business from their database. The scammers at this point back off to avoid drawing further attention to their scam operation.
  •  
  • Business owners should also send a written complaint, including relevant documents to the National Fraud Center
    C/O National Consumers League
    1701 K Street NW, Suite 1200
    Washington, DC 20006
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  • If you divulged your credit card information to the offenders, make sure to place a 90-day fraud alert on your account, call one of the following three consumer reporting companies: Equifax, 1-800-525-6285; Experian, 1-888-397-3742; or Transunion, 1-800-680-7289. In addition, depending on the credit card company and card agreement, you may be entitled to recover you money through the fraud protection plan. Your credit card company should know that you rendered payment for services that were not legitimate and never received.
  •  
  • And although, you may think it's too late for preventative measures, remember this phrase, "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger".  Learn from the experience and train your staff to never answer any questions over the phone or email that request even the simplest of business information unless they can verify them as a legitimate source. Also, train your staff to carefully review any invoices received before paying them to insure they are accurate and correlate to an authentic account the business is aware of.
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  • SHARE your story with other business owners, your local Chamber of Commerce, and even reporters that can help communicate the issues out to the public in your area.

AND A FINAL MESSAGE TO THE SCAMMERS

If you are reading this, I have one final thought for you....All Good Things Must Come To An End......and we will continue to aggressively educate the public  and empower them to make sure your Fraud Triangle falls short that final side to make it complete.

This informative article was written by our guest blogger:

Kendra Parker
Loss Prevention & Risk Management Consultant
Asset Protection Associates

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137 Comments

Thank you so much!!! I was going crazy with these guys. I started to doubt myself, did I say exactly what it said on the recording, I couldn't have. I haven't advertised with any yellow pages for almost ten years because of the way they acted back then. I know I didn't agree to it, but they, "have me on tape"..you'd better pay up. I got scared but I thought no way. After three hours on the net looking up every thing, calling "Caroline" back 5-10 times asking for their address, a supervisor, what "3rd party collections agency they use, how's the weather, where is my "PLATINUM" website, it's not where you said it was. She seemed unhappy to keep hearing from me, so I kept calling her for fun.Some where in there amongst all the web sites, I found yours. They followed your description exactly-- I mean exactly!! Wow I couldn't believe it. I spent the rest of the day filing complaint forms, talking with the FTC , State Attorney General, they confirmed everything you said. I called Caroline back asking her to send me a bill , certified return receipt , I told her it was to "protect her" and I wouldn't except the mail unless it was. I want her to send it, so that I can report it to the post master general as mail fraud. Is that wrong of me, or because of asking for the bill that they never sent before, does that make it "not fraud". It does not really matter to me because I got to call her back and act all nice. I think she new something was up or was just sick of me. I called her a sweetie and thanked her for how wonderful and helpful she was. I told her I think I have enough information to proceed with things on my end of this scam. she sighed and hung up. I'm not sure if all of my actions were correct, but it felt good not to feel like a victim with out hope.Thank you very very much! I'm sleeping at night now.

Hi Denise, After months of dealing with this exact scenario, we just got a call from their "pre-legal" department. Seriously? Anyhow, do you advise sending a written letter requesting them to discontinue all communication or should we just let them continue to call? We have not given any payment info, so I was curious if it is better to send something in writing or just ignore?

Denise,My business had been sent the same invoice from the Public Yellow Pages, same New york Address and the same harassing phone calls with all of the threats mentioned by your other readers, after scaring my business partner and my employee I told them I would look into the matter, your site and its information helped put everyone at ease about the matter,during my phone call with a Richard W., who spoke very quickly and was very good at talking over me, I informed him that the scam he was running was now infamous, and that even his name popped up countless times in web engine searches, he kept yelling that I didn't understand the consequences, then hearing me say that I've contacted my attorney on the matter,and I wasn't ever going to pay them a dime, he just hung up.
I hope anyone being harassed by these people find the information you've provided before they are taken by this scam, thank you so much for the education and information.

Denise, I just read your article and I wanted to let you know that they are back again but now they are sending letters that look very much like a yellow pages renewal notice. There is a disclaimer at the bottom that says this is a solicitation for the order of goods or services, or both, and not a bill, invoice or statement of account due. You are under no obligation to make any payments on account of this offer unless you accept this offer. Then in smaller font and non-bold: We are not affiliated with your local phone company and the directory is not distributed to all local telephone subscribers. If you advertise in your local phone company’s yellow pages and accept this offer, this will be in addition to you existing yellow pages advertising. This is an online business yellow pages listing solicitation. A customizable webpage is included with each listing of $396.00- see terms on reverse (terms are in even smaller font).- this is very deceptive.

We thought it was for our Yellow pages renewal as the scan previously had the fingers walking up vs. down. We did not realize that the fingers walking down was not the real yellow pages and the form says YELLOW PAGES with the logo only to say further down, Yellow Pages United.

I was hit. Yellowpagesonline.net

They have my voice, they played the recording back, my husband/business partner & I got in a few heated discussions because he "heard" me approve it. This all started a good few months back...before your article, which I thank you very much for, btw. A Shawna from 866-976-9976 kept calling. I refused her numerous times. She started sending invoices, late fees, interest charges, I kept putting them in a pile. My husband saw, I said go for it, with the understanding that he'd handle the scam reporting part of it. He ended up compromising with Shawna, paying her $300. I was furious when he told me how he handled it.

I then went back on line to prove to him, found your article..again, thank you!, I had proof. He cancelled his credit card at that point & has a dispute with them to cancel the $300 charge.

I doubt that Shawna knows that it's cancelled at this point, but ARGGG!! Now I'm reading your article again to see who - what I should do to report..so much more work then I have time for. Just wanted to vent..again, thank you for your article sooo much!

Carol

We got caught in this scam where they sent us a fax verifying our info with them or course I thought they were my local yellow pages. Our attorney told us to just ignore them, however they are now threatening legal action. I know this is a scam and I have filed complaints with the FTC and attorney general and the BBB. Does anyone know if any of these situations have actually gone to court.

Thank you Denise for writing this article. Everything you said is so true. I received the "opportunity call" in November 2011 and received the invoice recently. We went to the internet right away after receiving the invoice to find out more about this company and lo and behold, we found this article and it is such a huge help. I have been contacted by this scammer many times and every time they call I refuse to make a long discussion and I always say I will have my boss call you back. Today, I got the call from Patrick Walters and it happened that my boss is around. They got into a heated conversation as I anticipated - Walters threatened us they would take legal actions against us, my boss told him we won't fall to his trickeries and threatened him that we would file a complaint against them to the Atty General's Office, BBB, FTC and we will make it known to all small business owner out there about their modus operandi. We told the guy to stop calling us and take us off from their call list and his respond was our name has been forwarded to the collections department. And now we know, thanks Denise for this info again, that their so called "collections department" are just them.

So we are not falling for this scam. We will be filing a complaint to FTC, BBB and Atty General's Office. It's very unfortunate that there are such deceptive people in the world today.

I have two clients who are being scammed. Exactly like Denise said. They have not and will never pay.

I have learned some things that might help all of you:

The letters sent to my clients are postmarked Mooers Forks, NY. Google Maps shows this to be a tiny town about 2 miles from the Canadian border, and more than 6 hours' drive from the Chrysler Building in NYC. This indicates that it is a foreign (Canadian) scam. Good for them, because the State AG and the FTC have little influence outside the USA.

The charming Mr Webber told me that PYP is a NY corporation in the Chrysler Building. Sounds pretty impressive. To form a corporation, a company must file "articles of incorporation" with the secretary of state in some state. I checked the records at the NY SOS and there is no business entity of any kind called Public Yellow Pages. 14 businesses have the term "Yellow Pages" in their names, but none had the Chrysler address.

Google the Chrysler Building 26th floor and many businesses pop up. This makes me believe that the 26th floor is a "virtual office", nothing more than a bunch of PO boxes.

This is all good for us. To file a lawsuit, the business must state the nature of the entity (partnership, LLC, corporation, etc.) and where it is incorporated. If it is not incorporated or otherwise registered, it can't sue.

If they can't sue you, they can't touch you.

Webber in the "pre-legal" department threatened that if we don't pay they'll send my client a subpoena to appear in court in New York. That's not how a lawsuit is started. They must file a complaint in court, and have the other party served (hand-delivered) with a summons to appear. Mailing doesn't work.

Even if they could sue, they would have to prove everything with live witnesses and real documents. They would have to have a witness testify that they called you and that you agreed to have a PYP listing and agreed to pay for it, and agreed to all the interest, late fees, etc.

If you got sued, you would be entitled to subpoena their business records and have the original recording examined by an expert.

There is no way anyone would hire a lawyer to do all that over $600.00.

All they can do is threaten and bluff and hope that you don't know how things really work. Once you realize their threats are hollow, they have no leverage at all, do they?

Let's have some fun with these crooks. Call and ask Mr Webber the name of the corporation and where it is registered. Tell him your accountant won't let you pay any bills without first getting their taxpayer ID # (TPID's are always a 2-digit number followed by a 7-digit number). Ask the name and phone # of the collection agency they use. Ask the name and # of the person in charge of the "all-the-way-legal-department". Get him to tell you he is in the Chrysler Building (your office is in the Chrysler Building? Wow!). Then tell him that you just happen to be in NYC and are standing in front of the Chrysler Building right now with an envelope full of CASH, and can he buzz you up to the 26th floor to pay?

These guys can't operate without phones, faxes and email. What if those weapons suddenly became tied up answering victims' calls/faxes/emails? Maybe I'll forward the Nigerian Prince's email to billing@publicyellowpages.com!

Lets fight back. If they are answering our calls they can't scam other victims!

Denise: A company calls and records themselves asking an employee if they are able to make decisions for the company and then tells them it is a free listing? Why would they go through the trouble of recording themselves asking for customers for a free service? I have never heard the call but it seems like there might be a little more to the conversation than what is being reported.

There are several companies that are in the "yellow pages" business and these companies distribute their products with different target readers in mind. Some are local while others are national and even international. I think there are certainly different levels of professionalism and morality by the various companies in this industry, but I think you'll also note this phenomenon is common in most areas of business. (Banks immediately come to mind?!)

Your article touches on something very important and that's consumer awareness, but personally I find your lack of details and your frantic, shortsighted instructions to your readers to be be the result of either a lack of context or worse... laziness. After all, some of these companies that you inevitably lump into this article of smear and distortion are the same small businesses and consumers you're trying to help.

These people are relentless with this scam. They are sending me bills,phone calls,faxes,and emails.
I stopped answering any of them. They are abusive on the phone and demanding. No legitimate business would treat people this way. I have this foreign woman calling me lately saying shes is a pre legal what is that? Her name is Lucy Pearson. sounds like a fake name. She leaves messages on my answer machine. I keep the messages. Again the caller id shows up unknown name unknown number. Just like jake my first caller. Just needed to share my story, Amanda

This has been a huge issue for me. I work for Yellowbook and it has become a difficult objection to overcome.
I have helped at least three companies who have gotten this attack get to the FTC. I really struggle if they have advertised with us for years. On the flip side my company has been around for almost 80 years and well known for being the #1 independent yell page distributor. People like this are ruining what companies like myself, Quest, and At&t have spent decades trying to build our stealthy reputations. We want to help our clients get customers!!!! I hope they get shut down ASAP!

The company I work for is getting bugged by a company called Online Public Yellow Pages. Are they in on this whole scam thing. They are saying we owe them $667. I spoke to them in Feb, the way I understood it they were wanting us to renew a listing. I was agreeing they could send us the info, on it I didn't mean for them to charge us. I was new with the company, and didn't know any better. Am I screwed or do we wait them out?

We went through this exact nightmare in March. I nearly paid the 'cancellation' fee. Supposed recording was made in September 2011. Exact same names, "Tyler" and "Ron" As I was losing sleep, and consulted with attorney friends I happened on this accurate post. I followed the instructions and got immediate response from the NY Better Business Bureau. PYP first response was to defend the invoice, then I copied this link to Better Business Bureau and suddenly "Laura" decided to discharge the bill. It went away. Thank you for this information.

We received threatening phone calls and later a bill from yppublic.com as well. I almost paid it until I decided to look for more information about this company and saw your article. They used the same scare tactics threatening to sue us and send us a subpoena to New York and we'd have to pay travel expenses. He said it didn't matter if we contacted our attorney for legal advice because what they're doing is fully legal. Verbal contracts under $700.00 are legally binding. We will be contacting the FTC, Attorney General, and other agencies as you suggested. My father is running a little shop and hardly has enough money to operate let alone pay these people $599.99 (plus late fees of course) for worthless advertising in the Yellow Pages. It's maddening they treat you like your scum for not being willing to pay.

Thank you so much for this helpful article and informative comments. Online Public Yellowpages started to call and harrass my small business 4 days ago. My employees and I were very upset.I had never heard of their company, and had certainly never requested any services from them!Thank God for other caring business people who wrote about their experiences with OPY. I was able to pull myself together, file the appropriate complaints, and refuse to send a penny to Online Public Yellowpages.

I just got off the phone with the FTC. The agent who was registering my complaint actually giggled at the laughable scare tactics these Yellow Pages schmucks are attempting. He advised to stay vigilant in refusing to discuss it with them and, most importantly, never EVER pay them. They are certainly using tampered recordings, so nothing would ever hold up in court. Actually, the rep said it would be sad and a bit silly on their part to ever attempt it. So, as hard as it is, ignore them.

Thankfully I found your site. I will now file papers with the agencies you suggest. Earlier this spring the SCAM company was Yellow pages public. Now the harassing phone calls are coming. We got a faxed invoice from Online Public Yellow Pages so apparently they are using several variations on the name. They are bullies for sure. I'm not budging. Too bad for them.

I am glad that many of you report finding this information has been helpful in avoiding further troubles. Awareness is often our best defense! Sharing your stories helps to raise awareness to these types of crafty scams --and in doing so, helps empower others to avoid falling for them. As this particular con continues to spread across the country, it would be interesting to know what state you are located in. Please try to remember to include your state within your comments and keep spreading awareness!

I just recceived one of these scam calls today. They have called twice and I will not grant them authority to charge me. I expect to hear from them again at which time I will refer them to "snopes" lol so they can read all about themselves.

It infuriates me that small businesses are being targeted and taken advantage of with this scam. I am a church pastor and we have been dealing with it, too. In the beginning, it was just the fake invoices (I first remember getting them maybe 5-6 years ago). Made to look like a real invoice but in small letters at the bottom it indicated it was a solicitation.

Over the last couple of years, we've begun getting phone calls and faxes. I usually just ask for their name and contact information, letting them know it's so I can report them. Sometimes they give it to me (and I file with the BBB), and sometimes they hang up at that point. I always let them know that I know we don't owe them anything.

Our Office Administrator also knows this is a scam, but recently our office volunteer was targeted. Online Public YellowPages (out or Moores Forks, NY) has been sending us faxes with her name on it. Today they called and I finally let them play the tape they made in March, where she clearly says she's an office volunteer. They ask if she's authorized to make purchasing decisions, which she would never answer in the affirmative, but they've spliced the tape together to make it sounds like she said yes. I told the guy (Mark Lewis) that she clearly indicated she is a volunteer and the tape it clearly spliced and we don't owe them anything, but let me put him through to our legal department. He stayed on hold for 10 minutes before he finally hung up. I've decided that in the future I will put them on hold so that I am wasting their time, not mine.

One outfit is now operating under Open Business Directory LTD out of Boston, MA. Also calling themselves Yellow-Page-USA.com.

It is a rather simple matter to remove the sender's number from a fax heading...

Get about 10 BLACK pieces of paper. If you don't have any, lift the lid on your copier and make a couple copies (pages will be black). Don't do too much, you can over-tone your machine.

Fax them the black pages. If possible, have your machine scan into memory and fax it 20 times in succession.

Not only does it tie up their machine and often completely lock it up due to too much memory, they'll be bleeding money just trying to keep enough ink on hand. Rebooting often just starts the process over again.

Live by the fax, die by the fax.
Their fax number is on invoice.

If you have been hit, file complaints with the BBB, your State Attorney General, and the Federal Trade Commission. You can also report this fraudulent action with the FTC (for fraud) and the US Postal Inspector Service (if the company is using postal mail) by visiting www,lookstoogoodtobetrue.com.

Ugh... these people are frustrating the daylights out of me. They called a while ago and we just received our first call from Sandra Ray, their not-very-nice collections agent from 'Third Party Debt Collection' who, when I told her that we had spoken with the FTC who told us not to pay them a dime, replied by simply saying that they would then seek to go after the money through our credit & my personal credit. As the pastor of a small church, this is frustrating the daylights out of me and really testing my ability to follow the command of Christ to love everyone. These people make it pretty hard to love them.

I KNOW WHERE THIS YELLOW PAGES COMPANY IS, IT IS LOCATED IN CANADA, BUT THEY ARE JUST PRETENDING THAT THEY ARE IN LEXINGTON, NEW YORK. WELL, AS FAR AS I KNOW THE NAME OF THE OWNER IS ANDREW, I JUST DONT REMEMBER HIS LAST NAME. AND ALSO, THEY HAVE A COMPANY HERE IN PHILIPPINES... CHINESE IS THE OWNER! I HOPE THIS INFO HELPS TO ARREST THEM!

If we receive an invoice in the mail, is it then mail fraud? Thanks again for posting this! My dad was targeted as of late. They mail from Mooer Forks, NY on Canadian border. That post office must know the amount of letters that "business" sends.

I was called by yellowpages online and my whole conversation was recorded. (may 30, 2012)

i just received an invoice for $599.95 on August 30, 2012.

I called the number on the invoice to advise them we were not interested in this service and would not be paying the invoice. The representative, Claudia Brown played the recorded conversation we had on May 30th. I also sent an email to: cs@yellowpagesonline.net advising them we were not interested in this service. we looked them up online only to find all of these complaints about how they record and alter converstions in order to get approval from the people they solicit. I am also sending a letter to the US Postal Inspection Services Mail Fraud Dept.

About nine months ago and desperate to find work, I was trick into working for one of this online yellow pages scams. Everything I read from the comments, I experienced first hand. Lucky for me, I found information on the net how this scam works and then realized what I was doing. I feared for my safety so I had to quit this 'job' with some bogus excuse. I can tell all you readers that they also scam their employees. Information is kept secret among the employees and they are brainwashed to believe that this is a legitimate company and the invoice is real. Also, they can earn 20% commission(cash). This is why they are so convincing and demanding for the invoice to be paid. I even witnessed how one caller trick the company 'lawyer' into thinking that this was a legally binding agreement and he advised his client to pay the bill. Some of these callers were earning up to $3000.00 per week. Great money for a young unemployed high school drop out, don't you think? I estimated there were 50 employees working 5 days per week to set up calls/recordings and then to call for payment. My initial estimate is that the owner(s) is pocketing $1,000,000 cash per year. I am sorry to say that in this case 'crime does pay'. I think this particular telemarketing scam has packed up and moved as I see the offices are now vacant. My advice to any future phone calls you may receive is to inform the caller that they have been scammed into thinking this is a legal business. Bring to their attention, how they have to use a fake name, be paid only in cash, never allowed to speak to employees in other departments, calling from a country outside the USA, targeting only small businesses and never in the state of New York, and especially how the managers are always watching and listening to you.

I just fell for this scam and feel totally ill. Luckily I did not pay them a penny and found this article so I called the FTC right away. The rep that called me today is named Kim Heart from Online Public Yellow Pages from New York and she was relentless with trying to get me to pay over the phone. She played back the recording of me back in May that stated I signed up for the services, even though I told her over and over again that the representative I talked to before that said that I would not have to pay for that service and he would take care of removing it. Instead, she kept saying that I have this overdue invoice of 127 days of over $600 and that I most definitely signed up for it. I told her I NEVER received the invoice in my mail and asked her to email it to me, which she did. I would definitely remember if I received that invoice in the mail and I thought it was odd that no where on the invoice does it have my mailing address.

My question is: is there an easy to way to find out if they take my case to a collections agency? I don't want my business hit with this and have my credit score ruined. I can't afford the service of DnB right now, as I'm a very small business.

An update--and perhaps some advice for future targets. We were being targeted by these delightful individuals and grew very, very weary of repeated phone calls and faxes. One big thing we did was block any calls from 'Private Caller' through our phone service. It was easy (and free) to do. They stopped calling but kept trying to fax.

In addition to filing a complaint with the FTC, we also filed a complaint with Tennessee's Consumer Affairs Division of the Department of Commerce. (http://tn.gov/consumer/index.shtml) I'm sure other states have similar departments, but they acted very quickly. Within a week of our original complaint, we received a letter saying they were looking into the charge. Within a month, we had received a follow-up letter of resolution with a copy of a letter from the online public yellow pages saying they had reviewed our account and canceled the charge, also saying they would never contact us again.

Yippee!

This same scenario happened to our company this morning. I was faxed an invoice and an hour later I spoke to a Caroline Summers. I told her we never do online advertising and then she said, "Then how do you explain this recording?" and she played the recording back to me. I heard a gap after one of the questions and I told her it sounded like the conversation was spliced. She hesitated and then said, no, absolutely not. I KNEW I had never agreed to an invoice and I also KNEW I never told them I had authority to pay invoices. I told her I would have to speak with my president and figure out how we would resolve this situation. After finding this article, I filed a report with the Federal Trade Commission as well as the Minnesota State Attorney's office. Thank you SO much for posting this information!

Thank you so much for your publication. Our business just received a call. I was not so friendly I had to slam the phone on the girl. She was rude and would not provide me a call back number but insisted that I agree to something today on behalf of the owner or we would be charged thousands of dollars..

Thank You for this info Denise! This one ..Online Public Yellowpages 3106 state route 11 , # 720 Mooers Forks NY 12959 onlinepublicyp. com Howard Robert 1-866-319-6022 ext. 414 Is pulling the same scam. I did send the info to the Florida State attorney. Thanks again

Denise, I received the phone call a couple of hours ago. Her name was Tana, ph nr 704-752-2373 she claimed she was with with yellowpages.com to update our company information. I answered the questions, then I became suspicious and after doing some research I found this website. Now I realized that later on I'll be dealing with their request to pay for something that I didn't request.
Should I just wait, or maybe is there something I can do in the meanwhile?

Hi Denise and thank you for your information.
My business is Maryland. If there are more victims, hopefully they'll do some research and find this website before giving a dime to those scam artists.

THEY HAVE CALLED AND HARASSED ME AND I USED ALL THE INFORMATION YOU STATED ABOVE.

THEY STATED I WAS THREATENING THEM AND I SAID "YES" I AM. I NEVER AGREED TO ANYTHING, I DON'T KNOW HOW THEY GOT MY NAME AND THEY BETTER NEVER CALL MY HOME AGAIN. THIS SO CALL "LAWYER" STATED THAT HE WILL CONTINUE CALLING. I ADVISED I WAS WRITING LETTERS AND REPORTING THEM.

WE ARE IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE, IN MURFREESBORO, TN TO BE EXACT AND THEY ARE THREATENING ILLEGALLY. I WROTE THE LETTERS AS ADVISED ABOVE...

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE INFORMATION YOU SENT!!! SOMEONE PUT MY INFORMATION ON YP, NOT ME AND COPIED AND PASTED IT FROM THUMBTACK. I ADVISED THIS COMPANY ABOVE THAT CALLED, THAT TO PROVE THEM WRONG, I MADE UP AN ADDRESS, MADE UP A BUSINESS AND A PHONE NUMBER AND THEY ACCEPTED IT AND THE MADE UP NAME AND ADDRESS AGREED TO A $299.99 FEE...THAT PROVED THAT ANYONE CAN DO THIS TO ANYONE!

holy crap- i had this guy call me today. They are mailing my an invoice for 700 dollars. I will never pay. So glad i found this information. Screw them, they wasted a good two hours of my day.

I just got a call from the number 325-718-4640 Ballinger tx. Claiming that they wanted to give me a cancellation number for my yellow pages listing.

Thinking That this was the real yellow pages i asked why i would want my listing canceled? The India sounding guy said that i signed up a few years back for this service and that they got a cancellation notice from me recently and since the service was free for the first year that i would be charged for the rest for 599.99.

Since i just took over this business recently from my deceased friend i told them i was not going to pay, The guy then got pretty rude and upset telling me that I will pay and at that point i just said good luck buddy and hung up on him. I just want to make others aware of this texas number so they also dont get scammed. Thank you so much for posting this!

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A memoir exposing the steep price consumers pay when facing mortgage servicing errors, inaccurate credit reporting, illegal debt collection practices, identity theft and weak consumer protection laws. THE BOOK » DENISE'S STORY »