Yellow Pages fax scammers re-emerge to target small businesses

Criminals are now operating a website registered in Austria, warns ACCC

The long-running Yellow Pages fax scam is still operating despite attempts to shut the scammers down, warns the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The fax, which claims to be from Yellow Pages Australia and Open Business Directory Ltd, appears to seek confirmation of contact details from small business owners.

However, it is an agreement to sign up to an online business directory service charged at $99 per month for a minimum two-year period. The fax also features the Sensis name and Walking Fingers logo.

An ACCC spokesperson said the Yellow Pages scammers are now operating a website registered in Austria called after their previous site was shut down in December 2013.

“Reports suggest that Aussie businesses are generally alert to the scam and not sending any money or handing over their financial details,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“However, businesses should be aware that if they complete and return the fax, the scammers may start hassling them for payments, including threatening them with late payment fees."

The spokesperson added that the scammers may switch to sending emails or phoning businesses to demand money.

“Don’t let these scammers intimidate you or your staff.”

In April 2011, the ACCC prosecuted two overseas companies for sending thousands of the faxes to Australian businesses.

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.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)yellow pagesyellow pages fax scam

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