What is an Advertising Scam?

A directory entry or unauthorized advertising scam is an act of fraud that targets small businesses. Most of these scams try to bill your business for an advertisement in a magazine or journal, or listing in a business phone directory that never actually existed.

Lawyer in Raleigh NC | Advertising Scams

In reality, the scammers never advertise or publish your business’s information. They only act as though they’re proposing to advertise your business. They then invoice your business and take the money you offer them, without any service in return. Oftentimes, these fraudulent companies disguise themselves as an invoice for an entry in a false international fax, telex or trade directory. Sometimes they even appear to be a genuine directory, like Yellow Pages or Google.

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 call your business and ask to confirm details of your location and phone number. They’ll also disclose that the advertisement has been booked, previously, and that they’re only updating your information.

  • Once you’ve received the invoice for payment, you may refuse to pay, realizing what has actually happened. The advertisement scammers might then try to intimidate you by threatening legal action.
  • A few warning signs that you might be a victim in an advertising scam:
  • 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.
  • The caller reads out your listing or advertisement and you recognize the ad from a different publication.

Always make sure your advertising comes from a real business, yellow pages or other legitimate source. If you're questioning whether you you're dealing with a real business or yellow pages advertising service, contact a small business lawyer. Chances are, they may have encountered some issues with that particular source.

If you’ve been a victim of advertising scams like the ones listed above, don’t hesitate to call Klish and Eldreth, PLLC for help with how to deal with this issue. Our lawyer in Raleigh NC strives to help small businesses in many ways. For more information, or to set up a consultation to talk about your recent advertising scam issues, contact us.

Also, be sure to visit back with us on our next post. Your lawyer in Raleigh NC will discuss ways to avoid advertising scams and how you can protect your business from them.

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