We can’t throw money away and only advertise when we can.
Imagine our surprise when we had an Ad in the “Crime Alert” publication, but never placed it.
The Ad is a form of sponsorship and we never signed up for it. We never had a hand in designing the Ad and never got to see it before it was “Published”.
We had our Credit card debited and have since successfully had the money refunded.
We new we had been scammed somehow and moved on.
Then we started getting more phone calls about more magazines we apparently sponsored and now owed the money for.
The list so far includes
- Crime Alert
- Volunteer Rescue Forum
- Sun smart Kids
- Neighbourhood Support Guide
- Street Watch
All of these are around the $440 Ex Gst price (AUS) and all the Ad’s appear to be lifted from company websites.
The content of the publications also appears to be lifted from Websites.
The email contact addresses are @Hotmail.com or @Bigpond.com.au and bounce back.
They all have answering services on 1800 or 1300 numbers. Their addresses all seem to be in QLD.
When you have them on the phone, all deny knowing about the other publications.
All have the same stamp “Proof of Publication” in the rear of the publication.
All have laser printed ads in them that texturally feel different to the rest of the magazine.
None of them have a presence online and the phone numbers do not appear to be in Google.
This scam is known as a Charitable publication scam or Directories and advertising (false billing) scam
Charitable publication scams happen when a telesales agent calls a business selling advertising space in a bogus publication for a seemingly good cause. The caller will give the impression that the publisher is partnered with local charities, emergency services, crime prevention or community health initiatives. Sometimes the caller will say that a business has placed an order previously, or even that someone else in the business has agreed to take out the advertising space. They will either ask for payment details upfront for a 10% discount or already have your credit card details. All offer to send out a proof of publication with the Invoice. This does arrive but looks suspect. In general the fraudsters may also send the business invoices whether or not the victim has agreed to take out the advertising space. They may follow up the invoices with threats of legal action.
So if you get a call like this from a publication you have no connection with, write down their number, name and the publication name and contact the ACCC and Scamwatch.