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:
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.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. BBB Northwest serves more than 14 million consumers in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Western Wyoming.