Every now and then, a European online directory scam rears its ugly head. The latest can be found at www.eurobusinessguide.net and is run by a UK company called EU Business Services Ltd.
IF YOU WANT TO SEE a list of suckers, have a look at www.eurobusinessguide.net. Ostensibly, this site is called the Euro Business Guide, but it should be called the Euro Suckers Directory, because that is exactly what it is.
The company behind the Euro Business Guide is EU Business Services Ltd., and what they do to make their money is send out mass registration emails (spam) that offer participants "free" inclusion into a fantastic new EURO BUSINESS GUIDE. Here is the text for the email:
From: Euro Company Registration <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Potential Sucker [or any other name]
Subject: Print the form and send back!
Please print and fill the enclosed document and send it back to:
Euro Business Guide,
P.O. Box 2021,
updating is free of charge!
And attached to this spam email is the following PDF registration form:
Most companies that it is sent to have absent minded and busy office employees who, when they receive an instruction like "Print the form and send back!" do exactly what they are told, especially considering that it is "free" — your average office worker only needs clearance to spend company money, not take someone up on their "free" advertising offer.
What the helpful office employee did not do was read the small print that states inclusion in the guide is actually €990 per year (or a similar exorbitant amount) which is automatically renewed each year unless given a 2-month notice in writing!
If you or your company fell for this scam, are you legally bound to pay it? When we asked trading standards the same question they said they had a thick file on this company and advised not to pay. Of course, they cannot guarantee that EU Business Services Ltd. will not take legal action, but it is very likely they will not want to take this route as any legal action would disclose their identity (which is hidden behind PO Boxes and shell companies) and bring them the bad publicity they deserve.
We also spoke to a business owner who fell for this scam due to the negligence of an office employee who told us that after refusing point blank to pay and showing willingness to go to court to defend his rights not to be scammed in this way, he never heard from them again. So this scam very much depends for its success on people unwillingness to hold their nerve in the face of legal threat.
Looking at the list on www.eurobusinessguide.net, I do wonder how many of these companies are cringing at their inclusion on the "suckers list" and are trying, at this moment, to get out of paying their €990 inclusion fee.The Euro Business Guide scam is actually just one small scam in a whole array of directory and guide scams. If you are interested in finding more information on these sorts of scams, visit: www.stopecg.org. This is a comprehensive site with useful information on this type of scam and the best ways to deal with it.