The OYP Group: these imbeciles again

If you're reading this post, chances are you have googled the name "OYP Group" because you, too, are receiving invoices from them. Maybe you are getting the harrassing phone calls.

So who are these clowns and what do they do?

Here is one account, and here is an account of how the U.S. government dealt with one such scam.

In short, the OYP group gets your business name and phone number from someone who sells such information to telemarketers. They sign you up for a "free listing" for one year (without your consent). Then they call you, claiming to be the "Yellow Pages," and wouldn't you like to renew your business listing for the next two years? Then you start receiving invoices (between $250-$500).

Incidentally, the OYP group tells you the call is being recorded for "quality assurance purposes." That's not why they are recording you.

The problem with the OYP group isn't that they lie--that would be too simple. They mix lies with truth. Of course they can ask if you want to renew your listing--they already signed you up for one without your consent! They also claim to be the local Yellow Pages, which is NOT true, but not entirely false ("local" is relative, anyway). They also claim that they have a recording of you agreeing to the charges ... in my case, this is not true.

It's been a long time since my first post on this matter. I received many responses from people who have been targeted by this scam. Some paid the invoices; others did not. We had some meaningful discussion, but many anonymous trolls came along, and I had to shut it down. (One of the trolls, claiming to be an OYP employee, called us all a bunch of hicks, and said we deserved to lose our money).

Some businesses, including my own, have designated a legal representative in this matter. Any further contact that bypasses the representative and comes directly to you is a violation of federal law.

Since that letter, and since the last post, I have been the target of harrassing phone calls. One individual who was very rude, said he was calling "On behalf of the OYP group." He refused to identify himself or his organization. He threatened to sue me, to ruin my business' credit, and ... here's my favorite: "We know your work address and we have other ways of collecting on your debt." I told him that he was in violation of federal law by contacting me directly, as stated by my attorney, and then hung up.

The harrassing phone calls continue, albeit infrequently. What disturbs me most is that after the past two calls, my wife has received calls from a "restricted number" on her cell phone. I know it is the OYP group, because they have my name wrong on their invoices, and they asked for the same wrong name when they harrass my wife.

I know a lot of other people have had issues with these clowns. I have reported them to the FTC twice.

If you have been contacted by these people, here's what I would recommend:
1. never agree to anything on the phone (this goes without saying, although it won't always prevent you from getting invoices).
2. keep a record of all communications, written or over the phone.
3. When you receive a harrassing phone call, don't get upset. The caller is attempting to bully you into paying these false charges. If you get upset, it only lets the caller know that they have gotten through to you. Any reaction on your part gives these scammers more confidence that their harrassment is working. Don't get into a shouting match, because these people have all the time in the world. You don't--you have a business to run.
4. I can't advise you to pay or not. It's your decision. Try to talk to a lawyer.
5. Report these people to the FTC--EVERY time they call you. According to what I've read, the company is actually a Canadian company with dummy addresses and drop boxes in New York, so you'll need to report them to the New York office of the FTC: (800) 771-7755
6. Lastly, while I'm no Latin scholar, "Noli insipientium iniurias pati," or, "Don't let the turkeys get to you."

Comments are welcome, especially to correct my Latin.

Where are we?

For the few people that stop by here, I thought I'd give a quick hello. Where have we been? Suffice to say that each of us has been deeply drawn into a host of obligations revolving around life and ministry. There is a marriage on the horizon for one of us, a child just entering the "terrible twos" for another, and some new developments in each of our ministries. Some of these new developments are exciting opportunities, while others involve some hefty challenges. Most are a combination of both.

The three of us aspired, at one time, to "holy fool"-hood. We had hoped that our shared blog would challenge the established order of things as a fresh voice in the Anglican web community. Maybe we'll get there in the future, but for now it seems that we are called to fully embrace our Real Lives.

(I'll follow this immediately with an unrelated post, and that will be the last you'll hear from Malt Viquor for a while).

It's been fun, folks, and we hope to be back in the unforeseeable future.