Directory Listing Checks are the Worst Non-Internet Scam

I don't know if you get these, but about twice a month we get what looks like a refund check in the mail, usually for a couple of dollars and change, from some yellow pages company.  Today we got one from "Directory Billing, LLC" for $3.25.  We get a lot of small checks for pay phone and ATM commissions, NSF check refunds, etc, so sometimes these almost slip through - be VERY careful.

Why?  Well, the check looks all normal and innocuous, but in tiny grey lettering in the background of the endorsement section on the back, there is a lot of legal verbiage that amounts to the following "by endorsing and cashing this check, you are signing up for a directory listing in some random yellow pages you never heard of for some god-awful amount of money which we will bill later". 

  • Daniel

    We get these as well at my corporate offices, and I've asked them to remove our telephone numbers. They claim they need a list of all the telephone numbers of our company in order to go through and manually remove our name from their solicitations lists. I am concerned that this will just give them more telephone numbers to which they can send out more of their unwanted solicitations. I've sent out general warnings.

    Other companies do this as well - YP.com is another notorious one. Their value is dubious, at best.

  • http://fraudwar.blogspot.com Ted Richardson

    Interesting information. I do a similiar blog.

  • Kevin

    I wonder what would happen if you crossed out all of the agreement information and deposited the check anyway? Not that I need their $3.25 but it would be sweet to make them pay for some of these checks and get nothing but a hassle in return.

  • Glenn

    My company was taken the same way by yp.com for over $500.00. They withdrew from my account without my knowledge or permission. Their check was presented as a small refund from the yellow pages. We advertise with SBC Yellow Pages. Once they had our bank account number, they cleaned us out. The bank is scared to death to deal with this for liability reasons, as it appears they were unwitting accomplances in this fraud. If this has happened to anyone else, lets start a classaction lawsuit. This would be a great television story for CBS 48hours, Dateline, or 60 Minutes.

  • Tracy

    I recently received seven of those checks and deposited them. I called them the next day to cancel and they asked for the telephone numbers. turns out they really do need the telephone numbers to cancel. They give you confimation numbers for every account.

  • JuanPulido

    I'm a finance manager and my team just deposited a check from YP last week for 3.25, we just figured it out. What do you guys recomend?

  • KEVIN

    Juan,

    At the very least I would call them to cancel, then WRITE to them to cancel and send it Certified Mail/Return Receipt Requested.

    Then track down the owner of the bogus ad company and break his legs, slash his tires, egg his house and paint his dog lime green.

    OK, OK, I take it back.... Don't paint the dog.

  • Louis

    How the hell do you accidently endorse and deposit a check and then not notice that you are being billed? Do you hire illegals?

  • http://www.hurdit.com James Hurd

    Here's a really simple. Attach a box of tiles to the letter and mark it return to sender. Just be sure that your address is completely blacked out. It will go back to them and THEY have to pay the bulk shipping otherwise they lose their bulk mailing priviledges. I have done this with other companies and they call you quite pissed off.

    Just respond, "Now can you take me off your list now? I have several more boxes I really NEED to get rid of otherwise. :) "

    I really works and they are quite pissed off.
    - Jim

  • http://www.datatrends.net Kevin D

    We too got one of these checks. (It looked like a yellow pages refund check.) We caught the draft the first month, but didn't know what it was until I googled "YP.COM SCAM" and saw this blog. Because of your notes here, I called them to cancel -- got "Brenda" on the second ring and she reversed the charges (said it'll take 10 days) less the $3.25 of their original check. (Eventhough we'd notified the bank weeks ago, they still had debited another $27.50 from us this month (that I didn't even know about yet!) They'd also sent us a paper bill (which we trashed as an advertisement) and she credited that too (gee, thanks!). Anyway, it closed "our account" with them.

    If you haven't called them, it's 1-800-300-3209. Get your money back. The legal snafu will be a lot of trouble.

  • Ken Wirkula

    I had recived a check from yp.com on 1-18-06 for 3.25 knew it was a scam so it got tossed in the cicular file.
    About 2 hours latter I recived a call from yp inter net yellow pages (same as yp.com)wanting to update my free listing with them.Then they tried to talk me into a free 10 day trial of there mini webpages.(if you don't cancel within 10 days you start getting billed 39.95)I declined there offer.
    So i went to there website under customer service found this (Since our Outbound customer service representatives only call existing or new Advertisers we are not affected by the "National Do Not Call" list recently enacted by the United States Congress)
    Called them and found out i'm not a customer of thiers.They got the information because it is in public records.they said they were taking me off thier mailing list and phone list. this could take up to 90 days.then informed them i'm on the national do not call list.I have roported them to the do not call registory.
    Is there any thing else I can do?
    Thanks
    Ken Wirkula

  • http://www.theholidaycabaret.com Doug

    I just spent an hour this morning getting YP.com to answer the phone (thanks for the number on this list by the way) and take their billing off my ATT bill. Turns out they had coerced and employee of mine to authorize billing the business (all the time she's saying she has no authority). They selectively took answers from her and recorded them to make it sound like she had authorized it. The convinced her that they were just renewing an old listing (not true). What a true scam and they should be turned in.

  • http://TheTedRap.com Ted Demopoulos

    I got taken off their mailing list.
    A month later, I'm back on.

    Theives and Scumbags!

  • RC

    Wow this discussion has been going for over a year. I too received checks from yp.com & Directory Billing LLC and our bookkeeper deposited them. Fortunately I was able to cancel both in time. Now I tell her to give me any checks we receive for less than $5.00. Another scam that they try to get us with a lot is the copier toner scam. Someone will call and ask the receptionist for the model number off of our copier. They will then use this info to send us way over priced toner. I have told everyone in our office that they are not to give out those numbers. Now when they call they put them through to me and I put them on hold until they hang up.

  • David Carney

    We got taken by this in 2005. We filed an on-line Mail Fraud Complaint with the US Postal Service (www.usps.com/postalinspectors/fraud), then forwarded a copy of the complaint along with a nastygram to the director [then W. Chris Broquist- Telco Dilling Inc., dba YP.com, 101 Convention Center Dr., Ste 1002, Las Vegas, NV 89109], stating we had no intention of paying their invoice, that it was a fraudelent attempt at solicitation, and they were directed to remove our company from their mailing list and cease any and all collection efforts for any "services" we may have inadvertently "purchased" through their scam. Oh, we also offered to return their $3.50. I ensured they saw that I had also Cc'd the US Postal Inspection Service Support Group (for our state) and our Legal Counsel.

  • Paul Schuster

    At least you all seem to have received checks. I received a notice that I had agreed in some phone call to list my business (an especially neat trick since I have been out of the office for some time). Thanks for the postings. Its good to know what kind of dirt is out there.

  • http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/1413234 James

    It is amazing that some of you are not bright enough to read 12 point font on the back of a $3.25 check yet you still own and operate a business. This really baffles me, can one of you idiots explain this to me? I see that some of you are CEO's, CFO's, bookkeepers, and accountants. Where did you receive your education?

  • Jason

    You guys are dumber than a steaming pile of whale poo.

  • Your Mom

    Wow, goes to show how well you all run your biz. Quit your bitching cause you have retarded fuckers working for you, Its clearly printed on the back on the check, If you see something written on the back of a check wouldnt you read it. fuck ya'll are stupid. own up to your mistakes dont bitch cuz you were to fucking stupid to take the 30 seconds it takes to read!

  • Mike

    YP.com called earlier today. The foreign sounding caller clearly identified himself as representing YP.com and the purpose of his call was to "verify my company information" as listed on YP.com's online Internet Yellow Pages directory. (I quickly comfirmed that this YP.com 'Yellow Pages' website actually exist; it does.) After confirming that my company information as listed was accurate, the caller stated he would be transfering me to another person for verification that I am "over 18 and authorized to place an order for my company." This second "verifier" opened by saying "I'LL BE VERIFYING YOUR ORDER INFORMATION NOW." Upon hearing this I immediately stated: "There is NO ORDER to verify!", whereupon she promptly disconnected the call!

    I don't know what kind of confidence game YP.com was trying to play, but I assure them I have enough information about YP Corp., their parent company to have Mr. Daniel L. Coury, Sr. (YP Corp.'s new Chairman & CEO) answering to investigators from our state's Consumer Protection Agency as well as to Federal Trade Commission investigators if an "ORDER" of any kind results from this call.

    If YP.com isn't running some sort of scam on the companies it calls, its' solicitors certainly act like they are. In the future I'll be call forward their incoming calls directly to our Attorney Generals "Fraud Hotline" and cut out the middle man, me.

  • Kelly

    YP may have a great service to offer however their approch is about as devious as it gets. If they have a product they are proud of why not present it in a professional manner. NO, they have to weasle (small carnivorous animal) their way into the homes and offices of people just trying to do business and make a living. Their back door marketing leaves me with a bad taste and I would not recommend their service to anyone. As for the fact that they actually got the phone companies to bill for them is shocking!!! I will definitely call Verizon and let them know that I am not pleased with them as well.

  • Jami

    Your best bet is to short pay your bill by this amount. Then call the provider and tell them that this was not authorized regardless of who cashed the check. If they will not issue credit, you can usually call your phone provider and ask them to reverse the charge off of the bill.

  • Fong

    Jami, not true, the phone company has no control over 3rd party bills. They don't receive the 27.50, so it's not theirs to credit.