Those yellow page invoices that are coming into offices across Upstate New York are not real, and should not be paid.
Businesses are reporting to Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker that a phony directory invoice is coming in via fax, demanding payment for services that owners say they didn’t receive.
The invoice, from American Yellow Group, claims to be from the “outsourced billing department” in Bulgaria. The notice states that the business purchased “Facebook and Twitter features” and that it is the “last chance to protect your credit score in good standing.”
One of the red flags on the invoices states “Send check to address to Bulgaria. Varna, Vinitsa 9002, PO Box 83” with a reminder to send the payment with international postage.
There are several red flags on this invoice, which was sent to a business in Upstate New York
Reports to Scam Tracker include:
Orchard Park, NY business: “Our company was targeted by a company claiming to be American Yellow Group, Inc. outsourced billing department for the yellow pages. They sent a fax stating that we have owed them for over a year and have never heard of them.”
North Collins, NY business: “It was a faxed invoice stating we owe $496.95 for a 1 year listing which includes Facebook and Twitter Features, for free, and this is my last chance to pay to keep my credit score “in good standing!!!”. The remittance address is Yellow Pages Inc. Bulgaria, Varna, Vinitsa 9022 PO Box 4 (really weird address format).”
Bath, NY business: “Sent an invoice for $496.95 with notice of “COLLECTION WARNING” AND “LAST CHANCE TO PROTECT YOUR CREDIT SCORE IN GOOD STANDING”. Invoice pending since 11/25/2014. Send check to: Yellow Pages Inc. Bulgaria, Varna Vinitsa 9022 PO Box 4.”
Better Business Bureau knows scammers try to take advantage of busy business owners by sending a fake invoice; hoping it gets paid with legitimate invoices.
BBB offers the following advice to avoid falling victim to a directory invoice scam:
Question the services. If you or anyone in your company didn’t order the services or if you don’t have a history with that company, do not supply any personal information or submit payments. You are not legally required to pay the invoice.
Train the staff. Inform employees to be aware of potential invoice/computer and phone scams. Encourage them to flag suspect invoices for review.
Keep up-to-date records. Record an updated list of vendors and services your business is associated with to avoid falling for a scam that looks similar to a legitimate company.
BBB wants any business that encounters one of these invoices or another directory scam to report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker.