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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Eastern Washington, North Idaho and Montana
BBB Weekly Tips You Can Trust for the Week May 11, 2009
February 14, 2011

Compiled by Zan Deery, Communications/Investigations

5/11/09

zan@spokane.bbb.org
800-356-1007 or 509-455-4200

www.bbb.org

Readers of these tips should take into consideration the importance of the practice in question and the total performance of a company.

For complete information and BBB reports, please visit
 
www.bbb.org 

TIP NUMBER ONE

MT FARMERS/RANCHERS, CROP HANDLERS & OWNERS:

Telemarketers Selling Crop Chemicals a Sign of Spring

Thanks to the Montana Dept. of Agriculture for this Warning

HELENA, Mont. -- Planting season is a busy time of year in Montana. It is also the time frequently chosen for telemarketing scams involving pesticides that are unregistered, over-priced or poorly suited to agricultural uses.

These "cure-all" scams often involve ordinary lawn products sold to unknowing customers for use in agriculture or forest settings, says Ron de Yong, director of the Montana Department of Agriculture.

Each year, the department receives complaints of questionable chemical sales by vendors using dishonest business tactics. Making false claims about a pesticide is a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and the Montana Pesticide Act. While this may be both a civil and criminal violation, it is hard to stop the telemarketers from selling these over-priced chemicals without the help of Montana consumers.

The department recommends that producers ask these questions before agreeing to purchase anything:

-- Is the product registered for use in the State of Montana? Registered products can be searched at the department's website: http://services.agr.mt.gov/Pesticide_Registrations/.

-- What is the seller's Montana pesticide dealer license number?

-- What is the product's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number? Printed labels and material safety data sheets should be available for inspection. Using the number, individuals can review the label on an EPA website at: http://oaspub.epa.gov/pestlabl/ppls.home

-- What is the name and percentage of the active ingredients in the product? How does this compare with other products registered for the same use?

-- What is the sales company's name, address and telephone number?

Your safest option is to buy crop protection chemicals and services from reputable Montana dealers or companies who are qualified and licensed to do business in Montana, de Yong says. As the old saying goes, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Producers who want more information about pesticide dealer and applicator licensing in Montana, or who would like to report a questionable sales call are urged to contact Leonard Berry at the Montana Department of Agriculture at (406) 444-5400 or by e-mail at agr@mt.gov.

If you would like to file a formal complaint regarding any questionable company and its pitch or services, do so with the BBB at: www.bbb.org

TIP NUMBER TWO

Better Business Guide, Inc. of KY Pitches Leave Businesses Thinking They are Dealing with BBB: Company Has F Rating

Better Business Guide, Inc.
7312 Dixie Highway
Florence, KY 41042
Email: betterbusinessguideinc.@yahoo.com

(866)-726-9733 FAX (866) 726-9732 or (859) 647-0748

It has been brought to BBB’s attention that this company is soliciting BBB accredited businesses to advertise in a vinyl telephone book cover offer. The ads run between $199.50 to $229.50.

BBB is receiving calls from accredited businesses stating that the calls they are receiving from this company are misleading and contain high pressure pitches. One business stated that it received more than one call from the company in a day despite telling the company in the first call that it was not interested in the offer.

BBB ADVICE

If you ever receive a call from a company name that sounds like Better Business Bureau (or you think it is BBB but are not sure), feel free to gather info, and contact your official BBB to confirm or verify the validity of the solicitation.

Check FIRST! Look up reports on companies at: www.bbb.org prior to saying yes.

When considering purchasing advertising on phone book covers make sure you have are fully aware of the services you are purchasing. Make sure you fully understand the distribution channels, whether it is your responsibility, or if they have their own distribution system in place.

Other considerations should include where the company is located, and its ability to market and distribute nationally and whether there are additional services being offered in addition to the phonebook covers.

Often times, these companies offer additional means of advertising including television and radio spots at no additional cost, however the primary form of advertising you are purchasing is the ad copy on the phone book cover.

TIP NUMBER THREE

LATEST PHISHING SCAM USING WELLS FARGO NAME
Subject: Online Access Suspension Message

If you have received this email in your INBOX, don’t believe it, don’t click on any hyperlinks, don’t give any personal info, delete it and forget about it. If you have any banking questions regarding your account, contact your bank directly for the info, and don’t go by a random SPAM email like this one:

-----Original Message-----

From: Wells Fargo Online [mailto:customercenter@wellsfargo-secure.com]

Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 5:46 AM

Subject: Online Access Suspension Message

For your security, access to Online Banking has been locked because the number of attempts to sign on exceeded the number allowed. To regain access, you have to restore your online access. Please go to the server below and fill up all the informations:

(Hyperlink here deleted by BBB for safety XXXXXXXXXX)

Note: If this message is in Bulk/Spam is because of your Mail Settings, please select the confirmation message and click "Not Spam."

Because email is not a secure form of communication, this email box is not equipped to handle replies.

If you have any questions about your accounts or need assistance, please call the phone number on your statement or go to Customer Service.

TIP NUMBER FOUR

Ecommerce, Inc. of OH’s Good Name Being Misused in Phony Ecommerce Job Offer

Thanks to BBB Nashville for this Warning

BBB alerts job seekers of a phony employment offer that appears to be from a legitimate business - Ecommerce, Inc., headquartered in Columbus, OH with customer service offices located in Hopkinsville, KY.

Ecommerce, Inc., a BBB Accredited Business, notified BBB that they have been inundated with calls over the past week from consumers who received an email with the subject line "Detailed information about open vacancy at Ecommerce Inc." The swindler's email contains mirrored information copied from Ecommerce's website that contains data about the company.

The offer goes on to state a customer service manager position is available to assist their users in making transactions on exchange, input and output funds in miscellaneous currencies, and that no experience is necessary as the training course offered will be done distantly. The offer claims you will study from your own home, university or any computer with Internet access and that after "successful completing the course you will get a one-time scholarship ($500)." Not only does the email offer work from home, but a guaranteed salary of $1100 monthly for part time and $2500 for full time work. Interested parties are asked to complete an employment application that is attached to the email.

Ecommerce, Inc. informed BBB that this employment offer is fraudulent and did not come from their firm. Consumers interested in obtaining career opportunities with Ecommerce, Inc. should visit the company's careers section of their website at http://www.ecommerce.com/careers.php

BBB advises consumers not to fall victim to this identity theft scam. By completing & submitting the employment application the con-artist has all the tools necessary to commit fraudulent transactions in your name.

BBB advises job seekers to be aware of the following red flags which many indicate a deceitful job offer:

  • The salary and benefits offered seem too-good-to-be-true;
  • An employer offers the opportunity to become rich without leaving home;
  • An employer asks for extensive personal information such as social security or bank account numbers without conducting a single interview;
  • Employment offers are riddled with grammatical and spelling errors.