Service Skills Victoria has recently received a number of calls from some concerned operators about recent phone calls they had received.
From the Australian Competition & Consumers Commission website:
What are false billing scams involving directories and advertising?
A directory entry or unauthorised advertising scam is a scam that targets small businesses, trying to bill you for a listing or advertisement in a magazine, journal or business register/directory.
The scam might come as a proposal for a subscription disguised as an invoice for an entry in a bogus international fax, telex or trade directory. Sometimes they are doctored to look like those used by genuine directory publishers.
Alternatively, you might be led to believe that you are responding to an offer for a free entry—but in fact, the order is for entries requiring later payment. Another common approach used by scammers is to ring a firm asking to confirm details of an advertisement that they claim has already been booked. The scammer might quote a genuine entry or advertisement your business has had in a different publication or directory to convince you that you really did use the scammer’s product.
If you refuse to pay, the scammers might also try to intimidate you by threatening legal action.
- You receive a call from a business directory or other publication you’ve never heard of, ‘confirming’ your entry or advertisement.
- You receive a document in the mail that appears to be an invoice from a publication you’ve never heard of.
- The caller claims that the government requires you to be registered in their register.
- The caller reads out your listing or advertisement and you recognise it as a listing you put in a different publication.
Protect yourself from directory and advertising (false billing) scams
- Make sure the business billing you is the one you normally deal with.
- Always check that goods or services were both ordered and delivered before paying an invoice.
- Never give out or clarify any information about your business unless you know what the information will be used for.
- Try to avoid having a large number of people authorised to make orders or pay invoices.
- Never agree to any business proposal on the phone: always ask for an offer in writing.
Click here to read more on the scams on the Australian Competition and Consumers Commission website.