BBB of Central New England is warning local businesses about an old scam using a new name. Small businesses across the country are receiving bogus invoices for “Yellow Page” listings that were never authorized from Yellow Business Book out of Devens, MA. These scammers are in no way connected to the nationally recognized Yellow Page directory.
Yellow Business Book has an “F” rating, the lowest BBB grade. During the past 10 months. BBB of Central New England has processed 10 complaints against Yellow Business Book. Complainants allege receiving invoices for services they never authorized. Scams of this nature are frequently reported to BBBs across the country. The fraudulent businesses have different names, but have the same motives and are usually easily misinterpreted as being related to YellowPages. All businesses claim the victim owes money for advertising or directory services that victims claim they did not authorize. Some fraudulent companies even go so far as to make calls to businesses, asking rudimentary yes and no questions, and then recording the phone conversations. The yes or no statements are possibly edited into a phone agreement for the authorization and ordering of phony or obscure business listings. Months later the targeted business receives an invoice claiming they are past due. When a business calls to refute the charges, they are played the doctored audio conversation featuring an employee’s voice authorizing the charges.
“It is important to train all employees to recognize a possible phone directory scam,” said Nancy B. Cahalen, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England. “Alerting all employees to this possibility and requiring them to follow-up on questionable invoices could save the business hundreds of dollars and confusion.”
Yellow Business Books phone number is currently disconnected and an investigation conducted by BBB revealed that the address for the business is actually a PO Box in Devens, MA. The business does not respond to all complaints, but in the complaints they respond to, they state they will suspend or void the consumers account. Yellow Business Book has no proof to validate the bill, but they are hoping unsuspecting businesses pay the bill without question. BBB reached out to the business to address the pattern of complaints, but as of June 2, 2014, the business has not responded.
Here are some red flags to watch for: