World Business Directory / Expo-Guide: no wonder they get away with it

Why do scams like World Business Guide and Expo-Guide get away with their fraudulent behaviour?

Because not a single one of the UK’s major, publicly-funded agencies have any idea they exist.

A search on the following websites gave no results whatsoever: Serious Fraud Office, Metropolitan Police Service, SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency), Home Office, CIFAS, IC3.

This fraud (and variants of it) have been known about for years.  The best (and disgraceful to report – ONLY) resource online about this nasty form of scam is Jules Woodell’s ‘StopECG‘ site.  Despite repeated personal attacks, JW has continued to wage war on these people single-handed.

If you’ve been scammed by these people (who use forms designed to trick you into signing a contract for services you think are free but in fact cost around £1000 a year for three years) then you ought to be disgusted that no-one in authority has any idea about it.

The fact that it’s down to people like Jules Woodell and, to a much lesser extent me, to try to stop people being defrauded is a national disgrace.  What’s even more worrying is how unaware government, police and legislators in this country are in respect of these matters.  And while that is the case, expect to be ripped off at pretty much every turn.

As an amusing yet depressing footnote to this post, my quick search for official online fraud advice turned up this nasty piece of work (below) masquerading as helpful advice. Exploitation at £1.50 a minute or more.

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World Business Directory: scam or not? You decide (we’ll help you)

Is the World Business Directory a scam? Depends on whether you feel £980 a year to advertise in its ‘directory’ is good value for your money or not.

It’s one of many ‘misleading contract’ con-tricks that continue to pull in millions of dollars annually around the world.

In case you think these people are credible or have any real case against you, it’s worth reading this 2009 letter from MEP Sarah Ludford. That should begin to reassure you.

The World Business Directory email comes with an attached pdf that you’re invited to fill in for your ‘free listing’.

Boxes at the bottom of the form invite your signature & co. stamp – reinforced by the words “please fill in the form completely” in bold.

One small sentence tells you only to sign the form if you want to place an ‘insertion’ – a deliberately uncommon word.

A dense pile of even smaller print tells you that signing the form constitutes a contract to place an ‘insertion’ at £980 per year – minimum period 3 years.

It’s up to you to decide whether you think this is a cynical fraud or not.

This might help you decide. I know where I stand and so do people of many other countries where this occurs (word for word). Click the thumbnail (left) for a detailed look at their form -and a spanish one for comparison.

This also might help you: a letter from MEP Sarah Ludford to one World Business Directory victim.  You might also like to see the letter that same victim then sent to the so-called ‘collections agency’ operating on behalf of WBD.  Nice one, Mary.

One thing’s for sure, if you rush ahead and sign and return this form thinking you’re going to get a Google-boost from this free directory listing, be prepared: you’ll end up with on of these (right)

What gets me is that Barclays Bank are happy to take the money. Nasty.

Here’s another variant of this scam offer.

[Update] Now operating out of Utrecht, Netherlands [Update]

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