Better Business Bureau Serving Central Oklahoma Warns Businesses of Directory Scams

Posted on February 11, 2010 by Tim J Short

by Bob Manista - President & CEO of Better Business Bureau Serving Central Oklahoma

Most business owners like appearing in a yellow pages directory or two. Some spend significant money on ads directing customers to their companies' services. Unfortunately, con men - both in the States and abroad - know that directory advertising can be a critical part of doing business, and are willing to exploit misunderstandings and half-truths to get your money while providing little or nothing of value.

The scam is both typical and easy to spot. Your receptionist answers the phone and the con man identifies himself as being a representative of "the yellow pages," or "your directory." (They are almost universally vague about the publication name in an effort to create confusion or the assumption that they represent the most popular directories.) The supposed purpose of the call is to "confirm your business listing" and the con man asks whoever answers the phone to either say the listed data is correct or actually list the contact information for the business. After the info is confirmed, the con man may ask a series of "yes or no" questions, and may ask to confirm credit card or billing information. (They'll do this as simply as saying "You want this billed to the same address, right?") The "yes or no" questions have often been recorded and re-cut as a confirmation of an order for special listings or services. By the time someone is transmitting credit card data, the cat is out of the bag and you may be charged for listings.

What do you get for your money? Maybe nothing. Some international directories exist, both in the real world and online, but they have extremely limited circulation or are not widely promoted. An infamous Swiss website has a number of listings from seemingly localized U. S. businesses like barber shops - which may be faithfully and accurately listed, but needlessly reported to an international cabal of viewers. Some directories go unpublished or print only a couple dozen books - enough to provide "tear sheets" for the unlucky (and often unwary) advertisers.

The billings for such publications are notoriously difficult for a business to fight, partly because the perpetrators of the scheme are often outside the country. Your best protection is to make sure everyone who might answer the phone at your business is aware of the scam and will take steps to avoid giving the con man a green light.

  • Make sure only one person is responsible for your business' directory advertising. Relay any inquiries to that person.
  • Carefully restrict access to any credit card or billing information among your employees.
  • Beware of calls "confirming" company data, especially those from inquirers with foreign accents.
  • Ask the company name of the publisher of any directory. If you don't recognize the name, hang up.
  • Do business with directories only in business and/or in writing. Demand a written invoice before giving permission to go to print.

Remember (and remind your employees) that the famous "walking fingers" logo does not belong to any one entity. The logo was not copyrighted by Ma Bell or A T & T, so anyone with a scanner can reproduce it and place it in billings. That logo itself is no guarantee of the legitimacy of the directory.

Limit your business listings to two or three directories at most. Expanding your reach may sound like a good idea, but the effectiveness of those listings is arguable. Research how your customers first located you and stick with what works. The more directories your business appears in, the more likely you or your staff will be confused by marketing calls.

Also of note is a practice in which con men broadcast mail throughout an area, sometimes containing an invoice or small rebate check associated with phone listings. The invoice may not be a real billing, but a contract to do business with the company - by returning the disguised contract/invoice with a check, you've obligated yourself to use the company's services. Fine print on the back of the $5 check might obligate you to thousands of dollars in unneeded services.

Listen carefully to callers, watch your mail, and call the BBB with questions on your Accredited Business Hotline: 405.236.5292.

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Facebook Profile? Group? Fan Page?

Posted on February 10, 2010 by Jennifer Pointer

Yesterday, we discussed Why Facebook is a good way to incorporate social networking into an online profile management and web communications strategy.


Today, we'll continue with examining whether you will need a profile, group, page, or combination of these.




The Facebook "profile" is for individual networking and personal communication. "Personal," does not necessarily mean that every person who is a mutual friend on your profile is someone you have had over to dinner, and are willing to share your deepest, darkest secrets with. Remember, NOTHING is really "private" on the web. In most cases, these are friends, relatives, acquaintances, and friends-of-friends with whom you share common interests.


Facebook requires a first and last name that sounds like a first and last name for a Facebook "profile." Occasionally, the site will go through a purge, and dump accounts that appear to be using "fake" names. Therefore, it is not wise to invest a lot of time into building a Facebook profile under the name of a blog, business, or political statement.


The Facebook Profile has much more options for security, and communicating with potential friends. You can adjust your settings to reveal all, some, or none of your information to just about anyone you wish (within certain limits).




The Facebook "groups" are for collaboration around a certain idea or topic. They are similar to the Facebook profiles in that they have some security features (they can be "open," or "closed," to the public), but different in that any name can be chosen for the group. Groups are for sharing videos, photos, links, and for hosting discussions. Administrators of the groups have the ability to send direct messages to everyone in the group at once. Group members also have the ability to invite all of their friends, or several of their friends to a group at once.




The Facebook "fan page" is the least private of these options, however, they have the advantage of being indexed on the search engines, so they are good for search engine optimization (SEO) when developing an online profile. They have some of the same features as group in that users can share links, videos, and photos; however, it is not possible to send direct messages to everyone on a fan page at once.


So, which is better for you? You'll need to have a profile in order to set up either a page or a group. You may choose to use that profile to keep in touch with people you actually know while you use your group or page to keep in touch with your extended network. There is currently a limit of 5,000 friends on a Facebook profile, so if you think there is a possibility you will surpass that, it is better to just start out with a Fan Page, to keep everyone from having to switch later.


In upcoming posts, we will discuss some basic "do's" and "don'ts" for using Facebook.


Jennifer PointerJennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.

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Why Facebook?

Posted on February 9, 2010 by Jennifer Pointer


Why do you need to be on Facebook?


The answer to this question keeps changing because "Facebook," is a fluid concept.  It's a growing, developing social networking site, leading an industry that is shape-shifting on a daily basis.  So why bother? 


Because relevancy in 2010 requires an online presence.  Effective communication online requires effectively using the the search engines.  Increasingly, the search engines are being influenced by the social networks, and Facebook is currently the most popular one for business networking.   Basically, if your business requires interacting with people, you need to be where the people are.


Sooo...what are you supposed to do on Facebook?


Maybe you've seen people using the site as a way to publicy chronicle their stream of conscienceness - updating their status as thoughts enter their minds, and chronicling their every move throughout the day from morning teeth-brushing to evening TV watching.  Maybe this does not appeal to you.  Don't worry, this is NOT recommended for business networking. 


In the next few days, we will discuss tips for using facebook profiles, groups and pages to effectively develop and promote your online reputation, and communication with your peers and potential clients.


Meanwhile, here are a few well-known people who have found a way to effectively use Facebook:




Jennifer PointerJennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.

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WebRevelation Servers and Sites Certified as PCI Compliant

Posted on February 1, 2010 by Tim J Short

As of February 1, 2010 Webrevelation has obtained server certifcation required for PCI compliance! If you are one of our customers or future customers and you process credit cards; rest assured that we use only the highest standards for server security as related to the guidelines of the PCI data security initiative.

What is the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard?
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a worldwide information security standard assembled by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). The standard was created to help organizations that process card payments prevent credit card fraud through increased controls around data and its exposure to compromise. The standard applies to all organizations which hold, process, or pass cardholder information from any card branded with the logo of one of the card brands.

The standard is maintained by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, which maintains both the PCI DSS and a number of other standards, such as the Payment Card Industry PIN Entry Device security requirements (PCI PED) and the Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS).

Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance is a complex and ever evolving subject affecting millions of businesses – acquiring banks, Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs), processors, hosts, shopping carts, e-commerce and retail merchants and other merchant services providers.

If you are not hosting your website with us, make sure your host is PCI compliant.

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WebRevelation Selected as One of The Leading Web Designers of the Central United States

Posted on May 12, 2009 by Tim J Short

WebRevelation has been selected by Goldline Research as one of the Leading Web Designers of the Central United States for 2009. The list of the Leading Web Designers of the Central United States is scheduled to be published in the May 25th issue of Forbes Magazine. WebRevelation was chosen in this region to receive this prestigious designation showing that WebRevelation is truly a Dependable Web Development Firm. Read More Here >>>

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