I received a call from a man named Cornell Cookery Jr who left an alarming message on my voicemail that my business had received an unusually high number of credit inquiries (I believe he said 89 queries in just the last few months) and that it had raised a "red flag" with the Business Credit reporting agency. I had just bid on a couple of new pieces of business, and was concerned that perhaps they were using this agency to research my small business.
He gave me several pieces of information about my business that were true, and then said he could update my business profile and give me administrative access to manage my own profile. He then said it would be a $250 charge and that would give me full access, and how did I want to pay? I said, woah, hold the phone, what do you mean there's a charge? This seems fishy.
I should have trusted my instincts, but he made it sound very legitimate and I didn't find anything alarming when I was frantically searching for info on this company during our phone call. I should have done more research, but I am a busy 1-man business and just didn't want to do anything that would hurt my business prospects. So I stupidly gave him my credit card number. 6 weeks later, I reviewed my credit card statement to find that not only had I been charged the initial $250, but had also been charged $89.99 -- and then noticed I'd overlooked a similar charge the previous month. These scam artists were charging me a recurring monthly fee, in addition to the ridiculous initial "fee" for what-I-don't-know.
Needless to say, I replied to the email from Mr. Cooksey confirming the initial charge, and said he did not have permission to charge me a monthly fee, that I wanted a refund, and that I now again believed their business to be a scam. He replied several days later, directing me that "all cancellations must me made through the customer service department" and gave me a phone number.
I called the number, and after waiting on hold for 5 minutes, was directed to an answering machine that simply said, "Please leave a message." Scam!!! Scam!!! I have left a very direct message indicating that I am not to be charged anything further, that I want my money back, and that this is a scam. I've also notified American Express. We'll see how this gets resolved, but I implore you - don't fall for it. They go after small businesses because we are vulnerable and fearful about what we may not know.