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Minister warns on Swiss directory scam

BUSINESSES should be wary of invoices for unsolicited directory advertising, the Minister for Small Business and Consumer Affairs, Geoff Prosser, said today (THU).

Mr Prosser said businesses in Western Australia were now being targeted by big bills for advertising in an `International Telex and Telefax Directory.'

"The business person that contacted me was asked to send almost $US1000 to a Swiss company completely unknown to him. The invoice also included a bogus order number to add authenticity," Mr Prosser said.

"More importantly, the business person concerned has never requested advertising in the IT & T AG International Telex and Telefax Directory. The unsolicited invoices are a breach of the Trade Practices Act, punishable by fines of up to $200,000. Business people are also able to take civil action against offenders to recover any monies paid," he said.

This issue follows a number of scams attempted by bogus business and automotive registers to bill firms for inclusion in their registers.

"My message to small business operators is to be wary of any bill from a company you are unfamiliar with and check carefully what services you are paying for to ensure you actually requested the goods or services in question.

"Rip-off merchants use many tactics to fleece unsuspecting businesses. Watch out for your interests," Mr Prosser warned.

Further information:

Simon Troeth, Minister's office, 06 277 7790; 0419 412 715