Small Irish firms warned of latest web scam

6 Jan 2010

Small Irish firms are being warned to be wary as the latest wave of a multimillion euro international internet scam hits Ireland.

According to Labour TD Ciaran Lynch, small businesses are being stung for almost €3,000 by a company that is purporting to be an internet registry company, when it is in fact no such thing.

“The company, based in Germany, is writing to Irish companies with a form which looks like it is providing a free listing to an internet directory. I got one of these forms myself and having come across this scam before, it was immediately clear to me what was going on,” Lynch explained.

“The fact that they had categorised my web site as that of a restaurant, was evidence that they, whatever this company was, it was not a serious, professionally run business. Their misspelling of ‘December’ as ‘Dezember’ and ‘search tips’ as ‘search tipps’ raised alarm bells to say the least,” he added.

“Buried in the small print of the form is notification that what you are actually signing up to is a commitment to buy an ad on their website, valued at €958, each year for the next three years.

“What’s more the company reserves the right to unilaterally raise the price of the ad in subsequent years, and incredibly, gives the advertiser no say in how the ad will actually look.

“Companies are being lured into signing and faxing back this form, which could land them with a liability of thousands of euro,” Lynch warned.

“At a time when many employers are being put to the pin of their collar to pay for even the bare essentials, the last thing they need is an unscrupulous operator like this preying on them and putting their very existence in jeopardy.

“I will be raising this at EU level and with my colleague Alan Kelly MEP, to see what action we can take, to put these scam artists out of business,” the Labour TD added.

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