The European Business Guide Scam

A ping on the i-phone and in drops another email, just one of hundreds of emails I see in a week, some I need, some sent as cold calls.

This latest one is titled European Business Guide and has a PDF attached and the message reads “Dear Madam/Sir, In order to have your company in the European Business Guide for 2014/15 please print, complete and submit the attached form (PDF file) to the following address……”    an address in the Netherlands is included and it continues “….Updating is free of charge.”

Now this all sounds fairly harmless and you are asking yourself why is the word ‘scam’ in the title of this article. Well here’s how it works.

You see the free entry mentioned, fill in and return your form for the free entry but deep in the small print is a fee for your entry, some other blogs report this as around 900 euros, whatever the cost it’s never cheap and never free! Once you’ve sent that form back as far as the guide is concern you have entered in to a contract and the invoice for the fee arrives in the post for you and they will continue to bully you for payment until you either give in or they just stop demanding the money.

I’ve seen versions of this email including one which claimed that it is European law that the form is completed and returned – it’s not law and there is no legal requirement to be listed in any of these guides. A search on the internet will bring up various matches for similar scam business guides as well as a lot of blogs written about these  scams, often filled with comments from disgruntled company directors who have fallen foul of these schemes. One of the best articles to read about these scam guides is here

So next time someone offers you something for free, just remember the old saying, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” and make sure you stop, step back and look carefully and research fully what you are about to partake in.