Business Directory Scams: Information? Puh-leez.

Listing your business in a directory can be an effective way to advertise the products or services you offer potential customers. But be sure you know what you’re getting for your money... and that you even asked for the listing in the first place.

The FTC recently filed a case against Your Yellow Book, Inc. (YYB), a company that marketed an online directory to businesses and nonprofit organizations nationwide. According to the FTC, YYB charged businesses nearly $500 for listings they never agreed to. They created realistic-looking invoices — even using the well-known “walking fingers” logo. Because the invoices looked so legitimate, some businesses paid them, despite never buying a listing. In all, YYB racked up over $700,000 by deceiving businesses and nonprofits with these bogus charges.

What’s more, says the FTC, actual paying clients of YYB got next to nothing for their money. Directory listings were not featured prominently in online search results. And if people found the directory website, the FTC says it was difficult to navigate. The so-called prominent placements were virtually useless to the businesses who paid for them.

If you run a small business, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself from scammers:

  1. Read the FTC’s information on small business scams, which outlines how con artists target businesses. Share it with your staff, including receptionists and administrative personnel, to help them spot and stop a business scammer.
  2. Designate a point person for office supplies, directory listings, subscriptions, and other things you buy periodically. Tell your staff that all purchasing calls should go through that person, and keep a central file of your usual suppliers.
  3. Use your company's social networks to educate others about the telltale signs of a business scam.
  4. Encourage professional associations or local business groups to issue a warning to members.
  5. Take a minute to share this information in your community — fraudsters often target churches and other nonprofits that depend on volunteers.

And, be sure to report business directory and other scams by filing a complaint with the FTC.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money


Good to find the link

Good to know I can report all those "Google" listings and other irritations! Half my phone calls are from those pests, it's hurting the business since real customers can't get a call through.

Very good and timely article. I have been bombarded with all knids of offers. Today I won a BMW, of course I ignored the message. I am also receiving countless messages on how to become a millionaire by investing in options using an automated program. I have become very good at deleting the messages en masse. The spelling in these messages is atrocious. Thanks for the input.

are other scammers whoprey on consumers. I am currently fighting a group thyat offered asample of a skin cream for $4.99 shipping and handling and two days after I received it the billed my credit card for $89.00. When I called them they told me that it was their continuous shipping and billing clause. I told them to cancel everything and remove the charges after the free sample with $4.99 shipping. They tols me they would cancel all but what I have received and what they have already shipped. I told them I would return the product or send the product to the FTC with a complaint; and FTC would return the peoduct to them with whatever penalties that would arise from their egregious behavior.

I was scammed by a company acting as if they were yellow pages they are called ypedia nothing to do with yellow pages at all. They send out a bill and if you don't pay they send you to their attorney and to collections. I hope that the FTC is aware of this company taking small business owners money.

Same happened to me. They basically harassed me over email and phone. I told them to send me the original documents and they never did. A company called Davis & Jones were the ones that kept calling me. I filed a complaint with the FTC so hopefully something can be done.

Same with me... Davis and Jones literally calls my business 3 times a day. Is anyone who's been a victim of this scam really obligated to pay???

This phone number was very odd trying to contact me :

There is a scam Company in Lexington Kentucky that use telephone numbers (859)756-0230 and (859)493-2500 they pretend to be a discount locksmith, when called they will give you a very low price when they get to you they will drill out your lock and demand 10 times the amount of money quoted if you refuse to pay after your lock is destroyed you will be threatened, also they have been known to impersonate reputable locksmith Company's.. BEWARE they go by 24 hour locksmith and Bigblue locksmith and will tell people that they are Grott and Pop-A-Lock

You can file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at if you are aware of a scam.

I just got the same scam. They faxed me an invoice for advertising I never ordered. They claim they are sending me to collections unless I send $2396 to Varna, Bulgaria. There name is American Yellow Group, Inc. and they are using the walking finger logo.

Our company received a fax from Open Business Directory LTD. We faxed back and asked to be removed from their fax list (one of the options on the form) and now they "have" us. They claim we signed up for their advertising. They have sent notices for payment. We don't respond. Today they called our office and left VM. I instructed staff to hang up if they call again.I filed complaints with BBB, FTC, other scam watcher organizations. From what I've read, the best option is to ignore them. That is what we are doing. This "company" also uses the Yellow Pages logo and Walking Finger logo.

just throw them away. It is a scam and not enforceable. Has anyone been sued? I see just the threat on paper and over the phone. Our bill is over 6,140.... in the trash it goes!

We have been getting calls from YP Mobile App/YWS Direct stating that we owe them money, however, no one in our office (there are 3 of us) authorized their services. There are discrepancies with the invoice amount each time they call. They even sent us an email to pay the invoice via paypal. Did a quick google search and it sounds like they call you to verify your business information for and then edit the calls to make it look like you agreed to something. Called the FTC and because their invoices state they are in Canada, they don't have jurisdiction. They keep calling and harassing us! Very annoying.

In 2012, I started receiving phone calls from a company identifying itself as Yellow Pages-USA. They said that they were calling to updating the company’s information for the yellow pages. I verified the information then I started receiving faxed bills for $1188 from a company called Open Business Directory (which also uses the alias Yellow Pages USA). They call small businesses asking them to update or verify the information for their online Yellow Pages listing. They are masquerading as the local yellow pages.

If you verify your information, you will receive a fax demanding a payment of $1188 and stating that you entered a legal contract with them. They will also threaten you with legal action. In my case, information that Open Business Directory claims to have listed online does not contain the correct address of my business. This proves that this information was not provided by me or anyone at my company. Yet I have been receiving faxed invoices for $1238 (they added a $50 late fee) and have been sending a bill for 4 years now with a threat of legal action.

I have called them and informed them that I have not made any contract for any services from them. They refuse to provide any documentation to support their false claim that I agreed to this service, and I have refused to pay them anything. I have reported them to the Better Business Bureau and they provided some long rambling response that said nothing, and the phony invoices continued.

I contacted the Federal Trade Commission today and filed a report with them. The FTC officer said that they are aware of this company and its fraudulent practices. I have never seen any online listing from this company. Also, the fraudulent invoices that this company faxes to me include a telephone number and a fax number. This company which claims to be an online listing service does not even have a website. It is a completely fraudulent company.

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