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Yellow Page USA Scam – FTC Cracks Down

Maybe you are getting a flurry of junk faxes like I am from companies pretending they are collecting on invoices due for Yellow Pages advertising.

On of the faxes I get regularly is from Yellow Page USA, which is actually located in Dubai, UAE.

This and other fake invoices are designed to trick companies into thinking they have open and legitimate invoices due.

if you read the fine print on the official looking invoice below you will see that this foreign company will actually charge you $99 per month for a listing on Yellow-Page-USA.com. When you visit that site it says it is actually owned and operated by a company in Russia. – Source

Yet while the website claims they are located in Russia, the domain name is woned by:

Open Business Directory Ltd.
Petrenko Vladimir Sergeyevich
Al Barsha
P.O. Box 450676
Dubai,UAE

The other domains that are located on the same server are:
branchenbuch-baden-wuerttemberg.net
branchenbuch-berlin.net
branchenbuch-brandenburg.net
branchenbuch-hamburg.net
branchenbuch-hessen.net
branchenbuch-mecklenburg-vorpommern.net
branchenbuch-niedersachsen.net
branchenbuch-nordrhein-westfalen.net
branchenbuch-rheinland-pfalz.net
branchenbuch-sachsen.net
branchenbuch-schleswig-holstein.net
branchenbuchbayern.net
yellow-page-canada.com
yellow-page-usa.com

Spam Fax

Yellow Page USA Scam   FTC Cracks Down

FTC Crack Down

Acting on a Federal Trade Commission complaint, a federal court has ordered a European-based operation to pay more than $10.2 million for tricking small businesses and nonprofit organizations into paying for unwanted listings in online business directories. The default judgment permanently bans the defendants from marketing Internet directories and listings in the future, and prohibits them from collecting payments from their previous customers, disclosing or otherwise benefitting from customers’ personal information, and failing to dispose of this information properly.

In July 2011, the FTC filed its complaint against Jan Marks; Yellow Page Marketing B.V., also doing business as Yellow Page B.V. and Yellow Page (Netherlands) B.V.; Yellow Publishing Ltd.; and Yellow Data Services Ltd.. They allegedly ran the scheme from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, using English and Dutch corporations, falsely represented that businesses and nonprofits had a preexisting business relationship with them, and that they were affiliated with a local yellow pages directory. A federal judge temporarily halted the operation and froze the defendants’ assets, pending resolution of the case.

The FTC received several hundred complaints from consumers who received faxes that appeared to be from their local yellow pages directories, confirming listings the consumers already had. Those who returned the faxed forms were billed by Yellow Page Marketing and told to send more than $1,000 to a Park Avenue address in New York City. Consumers who refused to pay were subjected to threatening and intimidating collection tactics. Under the July 2011 temporary restraining order, the FTC intercepted and opened mail that consumers sent to that address, which included nearly 800 checks totaling more than $460,000. The FTC has determined that consumers’ information would be best protected by destroying the checks.

According to a warning issued by the FTC, you need to be on the lookout for these fake Yellow Page invoices and whatever you do, don’t fall for this scam.

When Yellow Pages Invoices Are Bogus

That invoice bearing the familiar “walking fingers” logo and the name “Yellow Pages” could be a camouflaged invitation to lose money.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, and the Yellow Pages Association (YPA) caution businesses that unscrupulous promoters are soliciting advertising for online, alternative, or nonexistent business directories. Although these directories appear to be legitimate Yellow Pages publications, they are not distributed to the public, posted on the Web, or promoted as promised. As a result, the directories — if they exist at all — offer no benefits to businesses that pay to advertise in them.

The solicitation to buy directory ad space or membership may look like an invoice and bear the “walking fingers” logo and the Yellow Pages name. Neither the name nor the logo is protected by federal copyright or trademark registration. That’s how fraudulent promoters are able to lead businesses to believe they are affiliated with local telephone directories distributed in a particular area.

If you happen to get one of these solicitations, be sure to let me know by sending in a tipster (send in your tips here) alert.

Yellow Page USA Scam   FTC Cracks Down
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Valdo

    Hi steve I had also fallen in there trap I need help.

  • Jgal13

    Steve- So I took the bait and signed without reading the fine print. They sent my company an invoice. Brilliant. What do I do from here? PS. Thank You for your site. It is very useful and priceless information.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      I’d send them a notice to cancel and see what they say. What does the agreement say about cancellation?

      • TD

        What should I do now that they are trying to collect. I have sent in a cancellation request and they have refused to cancel services.

      • B

        Their threats are empty. Don’t pay one dime. You can add to the complaints about them by reporting them to your state attorney general, the Better Business Bureau, the Postal Service, and the Federal Trade Commission. They will have many complaints from others but may eventually shut down and fine these scammers like they have finally done for some of the others.

      • Mich

        Did you ever figure out how to get out of this situation? I fell for this as well and they keep sending me invoices as well as faxes and now they have doubled the cost of the invoice?!

      • gracie

        I sent a notice to them about canceling and I called my bank and told them not to pay

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        While they may posture and threaten, I’ve never heard of them suing anybody.

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