Officials warn firms of directory scams


Jennifer Conrad, the membership coordinator at Belmont Country Club in Perrysburg, got two suspicious phone calls Friday.

Both were from local businesses that said they had been contacted about advertising in the country club’s printed directory.

The country club doesn’t have such a directory, but Ms. Conrad knew what they were talking about.

It’s a scam. Ms. Conrad said she and the membership coordinators at the other clubs in town have seen this before.

A scammer contacts a local business asking them if they want to advertise in a club’s directory. If they do, the caller takes their payment information ... and disappears.

Ms. Conrad said the people who contacted her Friday had been smart enough to avoid the scam. They were calling Belmont to let club officials know what had happened.

Dick Eppstein, president of the Better Business Bureau in northwest Ohio, said his organization has seen many similar schemes.

Some have involved people claiming to represent health clubs, boards of education, or high school athletic programs.

“You cannot agree to anything over the phone unless you are absolutely sure of who is calling you,” Mr. Eppstein said, comparing these calls to spam emails.

“If somebody calls you up with any kind of telemarketing solicitation, what you need to say is, ‘I never agree to anything over the phone. Mail me the information and I’ll take a look at it,’ ” Mr. Eppstein said.