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Protect your business from directory scams

If you work for or own a business or non-profit, you probably get lots of message and mail about directory listing and upcoming trade shows. Just make sure you’re on the lookout for scams as you work through these messages. Want an example?

A company called Fair Guide, tricked business and non-profit into paying millions of dollars for listings in an online directory, something these organizations never ordered or wanted in the first place.

How did they manage to do it? Scammers mailed letters to organizations,asking them to update their contact information for a trade show or exhibition they attended or planned to attend. All they needed was someone to update the form, sign it, and send it pack. What people didn’t realize, was some fine print located at the bottom of the work that said the recipient agreed to pay $1,717 every year to list online with Fair Guide – which has no connection to any trade show.

So how do you protect your company?

  • Read the fine print!, and be cautious about what you sign. Don’t assume a letter pr form is legitimate because it looks like its from a familiar name, a logo you recognize or seems to know you.
  • Designate a point person.Talk to your manager or employ a staff member to manage any directory listings, subscription and online presence. Having one person get familiar with these can make it easier to detect and avoid scams.
  • Share the knowledge. Issue notices, share tips with businesses close you and post it on your company’s social media. Also, encourage professional associations or local business groups to use a notice to members.

If you’ve detected a business directory scam – or been a victim of one – file a complaint at the FTC.