|Image via CrunchBase|
luxury of being able to ignore the typical scam unless it impacts our network,
family member or close friend. These scams are generally not all that
technically interesting and frankly, it’s easy to feel like such scams are
beneath us somehow.
the rise of the internet, and being computer and internet literate we are more
than capable of distinguishing a scam with ease, unfortunately there are also many
internet is just as mystifying as a good magic show. They can see the set pieces and the effects,
but can’t quite grasp what goes on in the background. They’re not idiots for being conned, they are
victims; victims because they didn’t have the knowledge to see through the scam.
I’ll refer to as Jocelyn, found she faced a high pressure telemarketing scam
based on Google listings.
day she faces a long list of calls to make, bills to pay, appointments to keep and
the last thing she has time for is to know all the details of how Google
listings and SEO work.
- Business Registry Center (BRC) contacts
Jocelyn and she explains she’s not interested.
- Being telemarketers they’re very persistent
and advanced their tactics detailing Jocelyn’s business who suffer and close if
she doesn’t accept their offer to ensure her business is registered and promoted on Google Local
Business listings. BRC keeps calling to pressure with more stats and ‘facts’ to validate their claims.
- Jocelyn checks out the BRC website at businessregisterycenter.com
and is taken in by initial appearances that seem legitimate. The text is well
written and they seem to know what they are talking about.
- Jocelyn decides to accept the offer to
receive the BRC information package and take more time to review their offering.
- Business Registry issues the information
package with an invoice.
- The BRC package arrives that includes a cardstock
folder with Shutterstock images on it, a one-page letter explaining how important Google Local Business Listing is and
- Jocelyn immediately called Business Registry
Center to ask about the invoice and explaining there must be some
misunderstanding as she only requested the information package and did not agree to the services. The agent advises Jocelyn that when she agreed to send
her the package it was her verbal agreement to the service package and that
they had the conversation recorded.
- For two months Business Call Registry
calls non-stop. Almost every day and escalating at the end to eight or 10 times a day, often while Jocelyn was with a
client. The calls became progressively aggressive threatening to send her to debt collector
and destroying her credit rating. Believing the lies Jocelyn sends in her credit card
number with the invoice.
- Jocelyn consults friends and immediately
calls her credit card company to cancel the transaction.
- Following up with due diligence the credit
card company contacts BRC about the cancellation of the transaction. RBC does not respond to the inquiry by the
credit card company. Jocelyn is completely reimbursed by her credit card company.
- Jocelyn details the scam to me and I then
investigate you can see details from my findings on my earlier blog here.
- Wanting to protect others I work with
Jocelyn to contact Montreal Police Department, because the physical location of RBC is in Montreal, Quebec. Montreal police
advise that this must be followed up with Ottawa Police Department.
- Ottawa Police Department informs us that
because the money was reimbursed there is no fraud and no charges can be laid.
- Concerned that others might fall victim we
contact local news teams and work with the media and social media to make others aware of this scam.
These people are preying on those who lack specialized knowledge, nothing else. They are thieves, and should be dealt with as such. They may as well have skimmed her debit card or grabbed the cash from her register.
We can’t stop the scammers from ripping people off. Like cockroaches, they will scurry off and set up elsewhere as soon as they can. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t stop them at every opportunity.
I welcome your thoughts and comments on how we can resolve these annoying scam artists.
Business Registry Center, with a post office box in Montreal, is calling businesses and non-profits offering to list them with Google Local Business Listings, now known as Google Places Business. For the listing that is free with Google, they are charging $499. A rip-off perhaps, but maybe not too bad? It gets worse.
So what do you get for your $5,500.00? Well, pretty much what you get for free with Google.
The earliest activity I can find dates back to September of 2012. Here is one of the dozens of complaints on 800notes.com. It seems they finally moved from disks to the cloud. http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-888-774-9902