Don’t get conned by a yellow pages scam

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Consider this a public service announcement for veterinary practice owners (or small business owners in general actually):

Have you ever gotten an “invoice” in the mail for a phone book advertisement that you either couldn’t remember placing or that looked awfully suspicious? We have. In fact, we estimate that our practices get them several times a year, along with thousands of other small businesses across the country. We’re here to tell you today that these deserve a close inspection, and, in most instances, filing straight in the trash as they are a known scam.

The reason you’re getting these goes back to the days of AT&T being the biggest and baddest telephone company in the country. The “yellow pages” was an institution. If you didn’t have your business listed, you had little hope for success. Yet in all their monopolistic wisdom, the legal team failed to trademark the term or the “logo” of the “walking fingers” that you usually see printed on phone books. Consequently, without trademark protection, the term and the logo are now in the public domain, meaning you, me, and every unscrupulous scammer in the world is free to use them. Those “invoices” you receive are trying to trick you into paying for a listing that may appear on some website, but no human will ever see.

The best advice we can give if you are unsure as to the authenticity of a document claiming to be an invoice for a yellow pages listing ad would be to research the company name, phone number, address etc. online first. In most cases you’ll quickly find results referencing the shameless scam and then you can safely discard. In most geographies there is only one, possibly two true phone book publishers. In major metropolitan areas it is likely either YP, Dex Media, or Hibu.

About The Author

Chief Marketing & Technology Officer

Win Lippincott serves as VPP's in-house marketing and technology expert, tasked with working with partner hospitals to drive new revenue growth through improved customer retention programs and new patient development initiatives. He possesses a deep knowledge of online and traditional marketing strategies and pairs this expertise with an advanced understanding of the various practice management software programs to offer hospitals actionable advice for improving their overall performance.


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