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It's Baaack: the Business Directory Scam

Have you received an email lately from a 'business directory', asking you to check your business listing for accuracy in their directory? We’ve received several lately. Don't fall for it. 

Their first approach is to call or email you, using verbiage to make you believe that there is a pre-existing relationship (i.e., contract) between your company and theirs. Once you’ve filled out forms or verbally updated your info with them, these marketers use the “verifications” as the basis to claim that you agreed to a listing that often costs $400 or more. They may go so far as to mail you a finished copy of the directory, but it's generally not worth the paper it’s printed on. 

The Federal Trade Commission says these telemarketers violate the FTC Act when they misrepresent the facts in this way, leading companies to believe that there is a pre-existing relationship between them and implying (and often outright claiming) that the organizations agreed to purchase directory listing services, and therefore owe money.

Con artists know that some small and medium-sized businesses, churches, and not-for-profit groups will end up paying the bogus invoices in the mistaken belief they owe money, or in good faith believing it’s simply a misunderstanding. Many businesses will pay the invoice, just for peace of mind. Don’t fall for it!

If you have any doubts as to whether an offer is legitimate or not, try googling ‘XYZ business directory customer reviews’, or google ‘is XYX business directory a scam’. You’ll know immediately if they are legitimate by the results you get.

Lastly, if you receive such an offer, be sure to let employees and colleagues know it’s a scam, and don’t hesitate to file a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint.