Award scam a big loser | Better Business Bureau

Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest has received numerous reports of an email scam targeting small businesses across the country. In the past 24 days BBB Scam Tracker has received 23 reports from potential victims in the Northwest region. This ploy is known as the vanity award scheme —one we’ve reported on in the past.

Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest has received numerous reports of an email scam targeting small businesses across the country. In the past 24 days BBB Scam Tracker has received 23 reports from potential victims in the Northwest region. This ploy is known as the vanity award scheme —one we’ve reported on in the past.

The email informs small businesses and nonprofits they are a recipient of a “Best of (insert city name) Award.” But in order to claim their trophy, they have to pay up. Business owners report being asked to pay anywhere from $149 to $229 to claim the honor and receive a personalized plaque. Some of these emails list a Seattle address as the place of business, however BBB investigators believe that is likely false information meant to deceive potential victims.

The names attached to the emails include: The Award Program, Business Recognition and Award Connections. The websites the email recipients are being directed to are awardconnections.org, existial.org, cortist.org and encountry.org.

BBB serving the Northwest recommends the following tips to avoid falling for these types of scams:

  • Ask questions. Learn everything you can about who is giving the award. If it is coming from a mystery company, chances are they simply want your money. Businesses and organizations that offer legitimate awards will usually be willing to provide detailed information on why a specific company received the award.
  • Know the nomination process. Find out who nominated your business for the award. If you didn’t apply for it or the group cannot tell you how you were nominated, chances are the award is not legitimate.
  • Don’t pay. Most legitimate awards do not come with costs to the recipient. If there is a cost, scrutinize it closely. If there is a fee for winning or for receiving a certificate or plaque it could be a scam.
  • Do your research. Check the company’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org to ensure the offer is legit. Many of the business owners who reported the scam to BBB did their own investigating and found we’ve reported on this scam in the past.

Companies that have fallen victim to these or other scams are encouraged to report their experience to Better Business Bureau at 206-431-2222 or at bbb.org.

If you are looking for a legitimate business award, consider applying for BBB’s Torch Awards. It is free to enter and is open to all accredited and non-accredited businesses. Applications are being accepted until July 10. Visit go.bbb.org/1TCW0Pc to learn more about the award requirements.

 

More in Business

Christmas wreaths help ease the pain | Don Brunell

Something as simple as a gift from Wreaths Across America can help someone suffering this holiday season.

Belmont venture offers lavender, much more

The remodeled barn opened as a business in July.

Good economic news in time for the holidays | Don Brunell

But how long will increasing revenue streams last?

‘Medical spa’ offers variety of skin treatments

Rainier Laser and Aesthetics Center is now open in Enumclaw.

Enumclaw opens new preschool, now enrolling students

Classes for two different age groups are being offered.

Cost matters when businesses hire | Don Brunell

It’s not just wages, but benefits, that companies must consider when hiring or retaining workers.

Military also adjusting to worker shortages | Don Brunell

There are just fewer qualified people in the employment pool to fill jobs which require higher educational standards, more skills, a willingness to work hard, and the dexterity to be part of a team.

Portland shipyard building wave of the future | Don Brunell

While it may not be the first commercial wave energy project, it will be one of the largest.

Carbon fee hurts businesses and families | Don Brunell

A carbon tax would raise over $610 million in its first year and jump to $761 million by 2023, but the added cost from the initiative over 15 years is projected to be 57-cents a gallon.

The Russians are indeed coming | Don Brunell

Russia is now the world’s top wheat producer.

Firehouse Pub: slight change of address but atmosphere remains the same

It was quite the project, renovating the pub’s new home.

Enumclaw’s QFC debuts home delivery service

The first order is free, but other orders will come with a charge.