Small Businesses: Watch Out for Ad Scam

Scammers are targeting businesses offering to publish an advert and donate the fee to charity, but then fleeing with the money, the Insolvency Service has warned.

A recent investigation by the Insolvency Service found that many of the publications where the scammers were offering advertising did not exist and very little money goes to charity.

“This type of fraud preys on the goodwill of small businesses specifically because they are often at the heart of their communities and are willing to support good causes,”

said Insolvency Service investigations supervisor, Alex Deane.

“Businesses can protect themselves by staying vigilant and remaining wary of anyone cold calling the company asking if they’d like to place an advertisement in a wall planner, diary, children’s fun book, drug awareness book, magazine for emergency services personnel, guide or other publication.”

“They should ask some basic questions will help to identify potential fraudsters. These are included in a comprehensive guide of Dos and Don’ts which is available on the Companies Investigation Branch section of the Insolvency Service website.”

The Insolvency Service has published the following tips:

  • Don’t agree to place an advert over the telephone unless you are absolutely happy with the publisher with whom you are dealing and what you are being offered.

  • Don’t speak to cold callers unless you’ve got the time to answer all the questions you want.

  • Don’t agree to something to get rid of them – you could be making a binding agreement.

  • Don’t take their word for it that you have placed an order previously or that someone in your business has agreed to take an order.

  • Do insist on seeing written details and a copy of the publisher’s full terms and conditions before placing an order.

  • Do get details including the number of any charity mentioned and check it with the Charity Commission.

Business owners who receive a telesales call that sounds similar to the scam described can also contact their local Trading Standards.

Small Businesses: Watch Out for Ad Scam


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