Feds, Canadians crack down on cross border telemarketing scam

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Federal and Canadian authorities have shut down, at least temporarily, three Montreal-based operations that were allegedly scamming U.S. businesses, non-profits and charities.

The Federal Trade Commission filed lawsuits against the three telemarketers and won temporary orders halting the operations.

Federal officials said the outfits were selling listings in "worthless business directories," often pretending to be from the local yellow page directory. To hide their true location, the FTC said the three used addresses scattered around the U.S. -- from Jersey City, N.J. to Phoenix.

The companies used names including National Yellow Pages Online and Reed Publishing. They solicited payments of $400 or more -- often strong-arming the businesses and charities, the FTC said.

In its complaint, the FTC said the operations misled the businesses by claiming to have done business with them previously and had agreed to do business again as well as trying to collect on debts that weren't really owed.

The FTC worked with the Canadian Competition Bureau and the multi-agency Project COLT.

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