Yellow Pages Scam Won't Go Away

March 31, 2015

Vancouver, BC – BBB serving Mainland BC continues to get calls regarding a Yellow Pages scam that tries to get unsuspecting business owners to pay for overdue invoices or ad space they never purchased. The scam has been around for many years and because it costs nothing for the scammer to fax a victim, it keeps making the rounds.

Better Business Bureau warns that these invoices are actually solicitations for listings in alternative business directories that differ slightly in appearance from the well-known Yellow Pages. In fact, the alternative directories may never be published at all and offer little value.

“The scammer is trying to create a sense of urgency for the business owner or book keeper who in a moment of weakness may not think twice about paying an invoice that is reportedly behind payment,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor with BBB BC.

The fax the victim receives advises them to update their information for Yellow Pages and include current credit card and contact information. However the fax often includes fine print that stipulates returning the fax would bind the recipient to a two year contract totalling almost 3,000 dollars.

“Like many scams the scammers in this case have all the right logos with the iconic Yellow Pages walking fingers and it all looks very legit,” adds Kelly. “The hook goes in deeper when ad cancellation is threatened or there is talk about the invoice being given to a collections agency.”

There are some key things to notice if your business gets these faxes:

  • The ‘real’ Yellow Pages does not solicit by fax.
  • Look for variations of the Yellow Pages logo and/or foreign addresses.
  • Look for poor grammar.
  • Contact Yellow Pages directly with information sourced through its website.
  • Be wary of high pressure tactics for payment, or if payment is demanded prepaid gift card.
  • Contact BBB BC or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
  • Businesses need to have strict controls over who is authorized to make advertising purchases.
  • When placing directory ads businesses need to ask where the ads will appear and what the circulation numbers are to determine if it is a good fit for their ad dollars.


Media Contacts:

 Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor BBB Serving Mainland BC                                                                                                                    604-488-8702                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          404-788 Beatty Street                                                                                                                                                                                            Vancouver, BC                                                                                                                                                                                                                  V6B 2M1

 About BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 112 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2014, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 1.8 million times for Business Reviews and processed 7,500 complaints.