Scott Burnett, AAA Termite & Pest Control, Memphis, Tenn., was a victim of this new, troubling trend.
Business identity theft, which involves imposters posing as a legitimate business in order to get access to credit lines or steal customers, is a growing problem that has “flown under the radar.”
Business identity theft takes many forms. Posing as a look-alike or sound-alike business to lure customers is one of them. But in many cases, shady operators go after information to tap into business' credit and reputation. They change a business's contact information, for example, then use it to obtain credit cards or order goods, skipping town before bills arrive.
NPR recently interviewed Scott Burnett, whose family has owned and operated AAA Termite & Pest Control in Memphis, Tenn., for four decades. Last year, the Yellow Pages landed on Burnett's doorstep listing three other "AAA Pest Controls." None of the "me-too" listings were affiliated with Burnett's business.
"You would have no way of knowing you're not dealing with us," Burnett says. "And I would have no way of knowing that you've called!"
It wasn't just AAA — 103 phony pest-control businesses popped up in last year's phone book, both in print and online, appearing to double the size of the industry overnight.
Click here to read the NPR article.
Click here to listen to the interview with Burnett.