I’ve had three calls in the last week all starting with a thank you for my support. Always an intriguing start to a call. These calls were from 3 different magazines, none of which I’d ever heard of. All of them insisted that they were not asking for any money and that they were going to send me the proofs. By the time of the third call I was starting to get concerned so I told the gentleman on the phone that his was the third call in a week and that I had not authorised any advertising. He eventually promised to check their records and get back to me. He never did. Alarm bells are now ringing.
A couple of days later I received an email from Presscom Pty Ltd containing a proof and a request I respond with “Artwork, Terms and Cost Approved”. I replied that I did NOT approve and would not be doing business with them. The magazine was called Community Focus, one that I could find no reference to anywhere. I shortly received a nasty phone call from them claiming that we had an agreement and they had spent hours designing the artwork. All they had actually done was lift my logo from this website and copied the”Contact Me” information. Would have taken me 2 minuted to put it together. After some abuse from them and me quoting my legal rights and insisting that I would not be advertising with them I hung up and haven’t heard from them since. Hopefully I will not hear from them again.
Now last year, I had advertised with reputable industry journal. It seems that the Presscom got hold of the magazine and decided to contact everyone that had advertised and used them as targets for their scam. After much painstaking research I was able to determine that there was no actual link between the journal I had advertised in and Presscom.
I also found and interesting blog post on it at Rantification. I was amazed at the number of comments from other people who were targeted. Some of which who were taken for $1,000′s. As small business owners we really cannot afford to be throwing money away.
On advice from a friend I had a look on ScamWatch and found a whole section on false billing so I promptly lodged the incident with them. Whilst these people are doing nothing technically illegal, their actions are very underhand and unethical. I urge anyone that is harassed by them too lodge it with ScamWatch and eventually they will have a case to answer.
In the meantime, if you receive calls offering things you have not requested, treat it with the suspicion it deserves.