Advanced phone scam call – YellowPages for $499

I got a fairly advanced phone scam call at work today!

The call started with a female representative from “the YellowPages” with a very thick Indian accent. She said this call was in reference to the cancellation of our online Yellow Pages advertisement.

Right off the bat, I knew this was a scam because I’ve never ever advertised online with Yellow Pages.

A “copier ink” phone scam had already crossed my path late last year. A “supervisor” from a “copier ink” company called me and demanded payment of $499 for ink an employee ordered from one of our store locations. If I couldn’t pay the $499, $250 would be acceptable.

When I told them to get stuffed, the “supervisor” then played back a recording of the employee saying “YES” to the salesman’s prompts on whether he was authorized to order ink and “YES” to the final $499 amount.

I knew the employee’s “yes” replies were a cut-and-paste job because they sounded like they were part of a larger conversation. There was a continuing breath after the workers’ “yes” replies and not a period-ending kind of breath. It’s the difference in hearing a “yes” as in “Yes I like coffee” and just a flat “Yes.”

I also knew for a fact this particular employee the “copier ink” supervisor named in the recording doesn’t speak one word of English. OK, maybe one or two words. But a full sentence? A conversation? Hell no.

Once I mentioned that little linguistic tidbit to the “copier ink” supervisor, he quickly decided “all charges will be waived this time. Thank you. Goodbye.”

With all that in mind, I didn’t want to waste my time navigating a “yes” minefield with this “yellow pages” call, so I said “We are not interested in any offers at this time. Please remove us from your phone list immediately.”

CLICK. I hung up.

That should have been the end of it.

But noooooooo.

The “yellow pages” woman called back!

YP: “Sir! I was calling you back to confirm the cancellation of the Yellow Pages.”

ME: “We are not interested in any offers at this time. Please remove us from your phone list immediately.”

CLICK. I hung up again.

2 minutes later?

YP: “Sir! I was calling you back to confirm the cancellation of the Yellow Pages. You must speak with our supervisor department to approve the cancellation or you will be auto-renewed!”

Fine. Playtime it is.

ME: “I am not interested in any offers at this time. We do not wish to renew anything.”

YP: “Sir! You must accept the cancellation of the contract.”

I didn’t say anything.

After a brief pause, the Yellow Pages woman continued.

YP: “Sir? You are having a final invoice of $499. This will be sent to the address of (GIVES THE WRONG ADDRESS) of your company.”

$499? Hmmmm.

I didn’t say anything and let her continue.

YP: “Can you confirm this is indeed the address of your company?”

ME: “If you did business with us, you have our address on file.”

I heard her ask someone something in the background. After a brief pause, she continued.

YP: “If you are having a problem with this bill, you must please be using the number provided from the cancellation department and the invoice number to be contesting this bill. I am going to transfer you now sir…”

ME: “No. I refuse to accept any bills. We have no service with you.”

Silence.

YP: “You MUST say YES sir. To answer in anything not affirmative with the supervisor will cause the cancellation paperwork to not be sent! You are aware there is a bill invoice due, yes?”

ME: “Send the cancellation paperwork. Cancel the contract.”

YP: “Sir! You must agree to the cancellation!”

ME: (PAUSE) “Cancel our account.”

YP: “Sir! You must be agreeing to the cancellation with the supervisor! I am transferring you now!”

After a moment on hold, I got a male “Yellow Pages Supervisor”, but with a similar thick Indian accent.

YPS: “Hello. Are you wishing to cancel your account with us?”

ME: “Cancel our account.”

CLICK

They hung up on me! No hesitation at all!

I thought that would finally be the end of it.

But noooooooooo.

3 minutes later, the same female “Yellow Pages” agent called me back!

YP: “Sir! You must accept the cancellation of the contract with an affirmative. Would you like to be getting the cancellation number from the supervisor so we may cancel your account?”

ME: (after a brief pause to think about how to make a YES sentence without a YES) “Send the cancellation paperwork. I will not answer an affirmative when I am uncertain of the question or if I know the question being asked is a lie.”

YP: (after a moment of hushed conversation with someone) “Sir! I am with the yellow pages! The yellow pages! I wish you to say yes when I transfer you that you are aware of the $499 bill. Then if there is a problem you can contest the bill with the phone number that will be provided with the cancellation number!”

ME: “I do not accept this bill. I do not accept your proposal.”

YP: “You must accept the cancellation! I have been advising you of the $499 due. When they ask if you are aware of the bill, you are to say you are aware of this to be processing the cancellation. You can always contest this bill with the phone number they will be providing you. Please hold while I transfer you!”

After a moment, I got the same male “Yellow Pages Supervisor” with the thick accent.

YPS: “Hello. I am with the customer cancelation department. Are you aware there is a balance of $499 on the account sir?”

ME: “News to me! Who are you?”

YPS: “Sir. Are you aware of the pending balance due on your account?”

ME: “Explain it to me. Why am I getting charged?”

CLICK.

Once again, the “Yellow Pages Supervisor” hung up on me!

Some collections department!

I was somewhat amused and annoyed at this point. On the one hand, they were completely wasting my time and I honestly have a hundred other things to do. On the other hand, I was having a little bit of fun trying my damnedest not to say YES to questions that were very YES based.

About 3 minutes later… the phone rang again!

Same. Damn. Rep.

YP: “Sir! I need you to proceed with the cancellation! You must answer that you are aware of the balance for the cancelation to continue! This is the last time I will be calling you! The last time! You must agree to the cancellation to receive your cancellation paperwork in the mail!”

ME: “I am not aware of any balance. I will not accept any bill. Send the cancellation notice. Cancel our account.”

YP: “Sir! Sir! Sir! Will you agree to the cancellation?”

ME: “Cancel our account.”

YP: “Sir! Will you agree to the cancellation of your account with Yellow Pages?”

ME: “Cancel our account.”

There was a pause and a LOT of muffled conversation in the background.

YP: “Sir, I am going to be transferring you to the supervisor. I have advised you of the balance due which you must confirm with the supervisor. I have advised you of the balance! You must answer in the YES that you are indeed aware of the balance.”

I didn’t say anything.

YP: “I am transferring you now!”

After a moment, I got a very different male “Yellow Pages Supervisor”, but with a similar thick accent as all the others.

YPS: “Hello. I am the supervisor with the Yellow Pages customer cancellation department. Are you aware there is a balance of $499 on the account?”

ME: “Nope!”

YPS: “The previous agent did not explain the balance to you?”

ME: “Nope! Can you explain it? Why do I owe $499? For what service?”

CLICK!

And that was the last time they called.

I actually think I learned something from all of this.

First, it’s actually difficult not to say YES in a conversation when you are given questions purposefully designed to elicit a YES response. Linguistic manipulation can be profitable, especially when it’s recorded for use later on.

And second? There’s a bunch of punk-ass scumbags out there wanting to steal $499 from you. (But $250 would be acceptable!)

18 thoughts on “Advanced phone scam call – YellowPages for $499”

  1. I’ve gotten several calls at my place of business- identical to this one. Sounds like you had a little bit of fun with them. Good for you.

  2. I just dealt with this – the jerks called our house at 6:00a! I couldn’t understand what they were saying…Indian accent.

    Here’s the number they called from 919-301-0759

  3. @Melissa Casillas
    Interesting!
    They called us as well, today , from the same number. When I call the number back I get “The number has been disconnected or is no longer in Service”. Clearly, this is a spoofed caller ID number. All the more evidence that this is a scam and has nothing to do with YellowPages at all.

  4. I get these calls at least 3 or 4 times a week at work and I constantly tell them that I do not have authorization to cancel anything, and when they ask to speak to someone else I just tell them no. They’ve hung up on me a few times also, but they keep calling back anyway. I don’t remember the exact number they’ve been calling from, but it shows up as being from either San Antonio or Raleigh on our caller ID. I’m just a tad bit suspicious that that’s not, in fact, where they’re calling from…just a hunch.

  5. They called me today twice but had changed their name to One Click Yellowpages Online. I hung up. I know they will call me back. Here is what you can do to make sure you will not get charged on your phone bill. Just call your vendor: Verizon, AT&T whoever & get the customer service people to put that you will accept absolutely no additions or changes from outside vendors unless you personally let them know. That has stopped every one of those idiots from charging me & believe me they have tried.

  6. We get these calls 2 to 3 times a day for nearly a year now. I never say “yes” to them, always say no, hang up on them, ask to speak to a supervisor, nothing works to get rid of them. Even told them welcome to the 21st century, no one uses the Yellow Pages anymore! They are even calling about a business that no longer exists. There is always a delay on their end when you answer the phone, and you know immediately it’s coming from a call center. Never give them any information. When they ask for your name, turn it around on them and ask them their name. Next time, I will tell them to Google themselves so they can see they are a scam!

  7. This is hysterical… I don’t normally read entire dialogues, but I couldn’t help myself! I just had this call today at work and came across this as I was googling yellow pages scams. Thanks for the tip on how to have fun with them!

  8. I am going through this now. One of my employees got the call and was told they were cancelling our yellow pages ad which WE DON”T HAVE. When the authorized person called back to get “authorization” she started saying all this about an invoice and my employee hng up. They immediately called back and said in order to cancel “just answer yes to every question” so that is what my employee did. Now they are harrassing me for $599 and saying they are sending my business to collections. I keep calling and the rep Tiffany keeps handing up on me. What do I do? Any help is appreciated.

  9. I’m with R Burns. I can’t get them to quit calling now. They only “need $250″ now to avoid further collection action. What can I throw at them to get them to stop calling?

  10. I’ve got the same call in the past 2 days. I also like messing with them. I’ll sometimes take the same approach as you did. For example, when he told me that he was going to give me a cancelation number I said “I already have it”. With a confused voice he replied “You have it…then what is it”. I gave him a four digit number where he replied “Thanks not the correct number”. I asked, OK what is the correct number. His reply “I don’t know.” I had to state the obvious “How can you tell me that, that isn’t the correct number if you don’t know what the number is?” At the point he hung up. The other call I asked if I could ask him a question. He was nice about it – sure, he replied. I then asked if he ever heard about “Cramming” (That what they call this scam). No – he replied. So I proceeded and told him how the scam works. He hung up. The other approach that I like to take is just to talk to the person as a fellow human. I’ll say things like “I understand that jobs are hard to get these days, but doesn’t it bother you knowing that all your doing is try and mislead people?” This is the best. They expect to be messed with as the author of this article did. When you just talk to them it blows their mind. Also – don’t say the word YES.

  11. I have been getting these calls for several years now. I either repeat what they say back to them only or no matter what they say I only say “no”. It is a scam there is no need to be professional or rational. Asking the scammers to add you to the do not call list or possibly get hit with an $11k fine…hahahahaha. They don’t care, they don’t stop, you cannot reason with them. They are criminals. On slow days when they call I carry on an entirely different conversation with them…it is very rude and crude. That usually makes them stop for weeks or months. However they always seem to call again and again and again.

    I read an article on Yahoo News that a federal judge in Illinios has ordered the company to stop and pay back over $10m to customers. The company is operating out of Spain. I doubt they will stop or pay, ever!

  12. BTW, next time I think I might just try “YES” as in yes, this Peggy (from Siberia). I read another online article recently, they sell their call lists to other ‘crammers’. It has been reported that some have been killed to get the list. The chances of anything we do individually while we have them on the phone will not result in a stop.

  13. Received a call from these guys this afternoon. The man on the other end said his name was Leander Warner from Business Yellow Pages Cancellation Department. He had an Indian accent which really strange. He was calling to cancel our Yellow page listing and wanted us to authroize a payment of over $600.00. I was then transfered to a lady who tried to confirm our conversation and asked if I was authorized to make such a decision. When I said no, the conversation was terminated. No more than 5 minutes later we received another call, Same Number. This time a co-worker of mine answered but gave this guy less information than I did. My Co-worker’s conversation did not last very long at all. Please beware. They do talk very fast and flat out refuse to give you a straight answer to any questions you ask them. “Leander” kept repeating the same information over and over again to keep from giving me a straight response.

  14. Received a call today from this same person, Leander Warner, Sr. Manager for Yellow Pages confirming our Yellow Pages ad cancellation. He wanted to give me a cancellation number. He said that our owner had called to cancel. When I put him on hold to verify with the owner he got upset. We never made this call. I told him I wanted to end this call because what he was telling me was not true. This is some sort of scam!

  15. Just got off the phone with them. They claim to be sending me a bill and they will keep my “ad” and it will be converted over. I was hung up on 3 times after I questioned them. Got different people calling me back each time. The last guy demanded that I say the word “yes” to his questions. I just kept saying cancel my account. I asked him for his contact information for my attorney to call him so we could record the conversation on my end as well. He finally hung up on me after he told me that he was going to send me a bill for something like $1300.

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