12 On Your Side: Advertising scam targets local business

By: Jerome Collins Email
By: Jerome Collins Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- If you are a small business owner, you could be the next target of a scam. A News 12 viewer contacted us after she got a call from someone claiming she owed hundreds of dollars for an ad she placed in the phone book.

Scammers are trying to cash in on your trust in the Yellow Pages, but the folks at Extreme Hair were too sharp for this con artist.

"Are they targeting a business?" said Sandra Adams, who is a stylist at Extreme Hair in North Augusta.

She sure thinks so after getting a phone call this week from someone she says claimed to represent the Yellow Pages.

"He was going to give us a cancellation number," Adams said.

She says the caller said it was for their business ad posted in the phone book.

"He told her (the owner) that she would owe him a bill for $649," Adams said.

The bill was for three years of advertisements and the person said that they would need to pay with their credit card.

But there's just one problem: Adams says their ad is posted in the White Pages and it's free. She says her boss hung up on the person who was calling from area code 305, which is in Miami.

They also say it is not the first time the caller tried to reach them.

"The shop is closed on Monday. They had called here two or three times on Monday and never left a message," Adams said.

She and her co-workers knew it was scam and hope no one falls victim.

"I don't like it because I think a lot of times they target the older generation and a person might would get nervous and go ahead and send the money," Adams said.

News 12 called the number but got no answer, but when we searched the number, we found dozens of comments stating that the number is associated with a scam.

If you believe you are the target of this scam, you can contact the Yellow Pages Publishers Association to file a complaint. However, they may direct you to the Federal Trade Commission, which has investigated these types of scams before.

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