Fictitious snow plow services: With the holidays and hard times upon us, it is incumbent upon all business owners and management to be aware of scams. Some of the best ones to be on the lookout for are snow plow service invoices where an unscrupulous person sends an invoice for a plowing service which was never performed. The idea is that companies don't know any better and some will pay. This is not new by the way but worth mentioning just to be sure you don't fall for it.
Domain Name Renewal Switch: What prompted this post is a letter I came across recently from Domain Registry of America, a company looking to renew domain names at a steep $30 price. I say steep because this cost is more than the $8.00 or so you would pay a company like GoDaddy. The company's logo has the American flag in it and this makes it look quite official. It starts off by telling you that as a courtesy to domain name holders they are sending you this notification of the domain name registration that is due to expire in the next few months. They further explain you must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the web.
The point is that to a novice they may not realize this company is not their domain name registrar and may sign and pay without knowing any better. One would suspect most people don't realize the company accessed a public database to determine that your website is up for renewal and they most likely have no prior business relationship with you.
The company sends so much direct mail - I have seen dozens of these letters in the past that they are likely raking in millions of dollars from customers who didn't realize they were switching registrars. Some people will call this a scam, I will say that it is highly confusing to the uneducated person and moreover potentially unethical. Here is more on the company.
Fictitious Property Reassessment Scam: there are legit companies providing such services and others who are scamming you. Be cautious before you sign a contract or check. Here is more.
Yellow Pages Scam: There are so many companies providing yellow pages listings and the term sounds so official that when you receive a bill from a company providing such services you may be tempted to pay. To make matters worse, the company's providing these services often provide you what they say they will provide - a listing on their site. The problem? Their sites have very little traffic and the listing is worth less than the paper the bill is printed on.
A few years back I wrote about how I knew someone who was sent a check from a company with Yellow Pages in its name. The check was cashed but the fine print on the back said they had to pay over $100 for a listing online.
The problem of course is that the Yellow pages name makes you think "phone company" and in some cases unscrupulous companies take advantage of the perception of phone company affiliation to defraud the public.
In conclusion, please enjoy a happy holiday season and beware of frauds, fakes and scammers. Use sites like the Better Business Bureau and search engines as needed and be sure to protect yourself.
Government Stimulus Scam: Last night I came across a stimulus fund letter in the mail which makes it seem like the government wants to give you money. The fine print mentions that there is no government affiliation.
Mortgage Scam: Beware of companies looking to help you refinance your debt.