A Eurobodalla business is warning others to beware of a scam targeting small enterprises in the shire.
A spokesperson contacted the Bay Post/Moruya Examiner after receiving calls from an interstate organisation claiming to publish an emergency services magazine.
She said the caller approached the business to take out advertising in the magazine, becoming increasingly persistent and demanding in follow-up calls. Finally the business was slugged with a hefty bill for an ad it had never agreed to.
It was essentially a contract locking us into payment of almost $800.- Businesswoman
“The phone calls were to solicit almost $800 in payment for advertising in their magazine,” the spokesperson said.
“(The caller) claimed the advertisement had already gone to print with our business logo and business services details.”
She said the business had never given permission for the magazine to publish the advertisement and had not seen a proof of the ad until after the magazine claimed to have gone to print.
“In the details of the email, it said they required payment in 14 days, so it was essentially a contract locking us into payment of almost $800,” the spokesperson said.
After requesting a copy of the ad, the business received an email a few days later containing what appeared to be a legitimate ad proof; however, alarm bells were ringing.
“My doubts increased with the persistent phone calls, emails and pressure for payment,” the spokesperson said.
“This prompted an internet search of their activities. The result identified many comments posted on several review forums making the accusation their business activities were a 'scam'.”
When the business confronted the caller with their suspicions, she said the conversation turned nasty.
“The tone of voice changed,” she said.
“I lodged an online report to the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) on their scammers webpage.
“I feel annoyed by the time and energy wasted engaging with this person.
“We are trusting and honest and these kinds of people need to be 'stamped out'.
The business warned others to be wary.
“Awareness should be raised to ensure this person wastes no more time of small businesses,” she said.
“It should serve as a warning not agree or pay for any advertising unless initiated by individuals or business themselves.”
The Bay Post/Moruya Examiner has approached the magazine for comment.
The ACCC warns businesses not to “let scammers slip under your radar with invoices for unwanted services”.
According to the ACCC, the warning signs of this type of scam are:
Scams should be reported to the ACCC via the Scamwatch website.
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