The Federal Trade Commission shut down two Canada-based schemes after they cheated U.S. small businesses and nonprofit organizations out of millions of dollars. The action should help protect other Americans from being tricked into paying for unwanted listings in online “yellow pages” business directories.
According to the FTC, other victims of the scam included some churches, retirement homes and local governments.
The FTC said victims of the scam typically received phony bills of about $480 from companies like OnlineYellowPagesToday.com ostensibly for listings in the yellow pages. The invoices included the well-known walking fingers image that is associated with the local yellow page directories.
“If the recipients disputed the invoices, the defendants used deceptive collection tactics, such as playing altered or incomplete audio recordings to give the false impression that an employee of the organization had authorized a directory listing,” the FTC said.
Under a settlement order, Oni Nathifa Julien and her companies have been ordered to pony up a judgment of more than $3 million.
In the case of Medical Yellow Directories, the FTC is asking that the company stop its illegal practices for good. Similar to Julien’s online yellow pages scam, the Medical Yellow Directories is accused of sending invoices for directory listings to a number of American nonprofits and medical practices.
Read more about the yellow pages scams here.
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