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Beware: Fake Telkom directory update scam rears its head again

27 October 2021 4:23 PM
Tags:
Scam
Telkom directory

This week on Consumer Talk Pippa Hudson and consumer journalist Wendy Knowler revisit a scam story that just won’t go away
  • Always read the small print before signing any contract
  • If you have been caught in this scam do not pay up no matter how dire the threats, says Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler
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This week on Consumer Talk Pippa Hudson and consumer journalist Wendy Knowler revisit a scam story that just won’t go away, "no matter how many times we cover it," laments Pippa.

Pippa says this is the one story that keeps on coming back to haunt us.

Because every time it’s highlighted the crooks go quiet for a while, but then they bounce back again with the same old modus operandi, and innocent people get caught again.

Pippa Hudson, Presenter - CapeTalk

So what exactly is this scam all about?

Thousands of small business owners across the country from medical practices and service stations to guest houses, couriers, and beauty salons have fallen victim to the “just sign the form to confirm your Telkom directory listing” scam in the past six years or so, explains Wendy Knowler.

She says if you have a listing as a small business in Telkom’s white or yellow pages, or both, be extremely wary of any approach you get about confirming or updating your entry.

Trudon, Telkom’s directory partner, has for years warned its customers about companies approaching its advertisers and passing themselves off as Telkom representatives in subtle, clever ways.

I first exposed this scam in 2015. Back then a Durban-based company calling itself Directories Services 2 was phoning businesses - listed in bold in the Telkom directory, and paying Trudon a little extra for that every month and misleading them into believing that they were affiliated to the white and yellow pages, asking them to submit their updated information and then sending them a bill for R7200.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

Those carrying out the scam are asking for R10 000 now.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

Having told their potential victims that they were going to send them a form in order for them to confirm or update their (official) business listing, as a FREE service, the form included the word free here and there, but the tiny, barely legible print on the form committed them to paying for that subscription. Upfront!

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

Wendy explains that consumers then receive the payment demand, and that’s when they realise they’ve been tricked into agreeing to something they don’t want or need.

Those who don’t pay are handed over to a collections agency - which badgers them mercilessly, issuing all sorts of dire threats, including “the sheriff is coming to attach your assets”

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

There have been investigations and even some prosecutions of the guilty parties, usually, the collection agencies rather than the actual scammer, reports Wendy.

As a consumer journalist, her advice is to always read the small print.

If you’re being harassed to pay up, don’t pay. No matter how dire the threats they will never follow up.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

Do not pay. Never pay up.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist

Here's what to do if you are being harassed:

If you’re been caught and are currently being harassed, email the Council for Debt Collectors and ask for their complaint form: info@cfdc.org.za Completed and commissioned complaint forms should be sent to joycem@cfdc.org and info@cfdc.org.za should be copied in as backup. A task reference number should be furnished by Joyce within two days, and if not, Joyce should be contacted on 012-8049808 EXT. 104 to obtain it.




27 October 2021 4:23 PM
Tags:
Scam
Telkom directory

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