Yellow Pages fax scam strikes again: ACCC

Small businesses are receiving a fax which asks them to sign up for an online business directory

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned small business owners about a Yellow Pages fax scam which asks them to sign up to an online business directory service charged at $99 per month for a minimum two-year period.

The fax, which claims to be from Yellow Page Australia and Open Business Directory Ltd, uses the Sensis name and Walking Fingers logo.

ACCC deputy chair Doctor Michael Schaper said the scam targeted Australian businesses three years ago.

“In April 2011, the ACCC successfully prosecuted two overseas companies for sending thousands of these types of faxes to local businesses,” he said in a statement.

At the time, the Federal Court imposed penalties of $2.7 million against the scammers. Authorities in the United States and Canada also successfully prosecuted other people behind the fax scheme.

While the scammers from this round of faxes appear to be different, Schaper said that the conduct is nearly identical.

“The perpetrators behind this Yellow Pages scam would likely be trying to take advantage of the new financial year period to trick busy businesses into signing up to an unwanted service,” he said.

Schaper advised small business owners to throw the Yellow Pages fax away.

“If you get a threatening phone call, email or fax demanding payment, ignore the caller and report it,” he said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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