Fax scam could cost business hundreds

Australian small businesses have been warned they could find themselves being hit with demands for the payment of hundreds of dollars if they respond to a scam fax from a company calling itself ‘Yellow Page-Australia.com’.

Yellow Pages® directories publisher, Sensis, said today dozens of customers have alerted it to the fax scam. Sensis Chief Operating Officer, Jeremy Birt, said businesses which mistakenly sign up could be required to pay hundreds of dollars in fees to the scam company without getting a listing in the Yellow Pages® online directory.

"Yellow Page-Australia.com has no affiliation with the Yellow Pages® directories or Sensis whatsoever. The fax carries fine print requiring the business to pay $109 per month for two years, payable one year in advance for a directory listing," Mr Birt said.

"Our customers have been contacting us asking if this is an official Yellow Pages promotion and we are concerned that some may sign up not realising it is not the Yellow Pages online directory services. We believe the faxes are being sent from a business located in Panama. Our lawyers are currently considering potential legal action. We also have brought the matter to the attention of the ACCC.

"It is extremely important that people look at the fine print closely to check whether or not the source is genuinely the Yellow Pages® business," he said. The current faxes appear similar to scam faxes sent to Yellow Pages® directory customers in 2010. In that case, the ACCC obtained a judgment in the Federal Court against the fax scammers which resulted in the contracts being rescinded and the responsible overseas companies being fined $2.7 million. Similar faxes were sent to customers in 2013 from a company trading as ‘Yellow Page AUSTRALIA’.

Yellow Pages® customers who have any further concerns should contact the ACCC via the SCAMwatch Infocentre on 1300 795 995, or Yellow Pages® customer service on 13 23 78.

Petros Kosmopoulos on 0477 397 997.