Beware: Business Vanity Awards Are Back

Oct. 9, 2013

Beware: Business Vanity Awards Are Back

The Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin (BBB) is alerting businesses and organizations to be cautious of congratulatory emails claiming the company has won the “Best of…” award for businesses in their community or industry.

All too frequently vanity pitches for “Who’s Who” type publications, biographies or nominations for awards or special memberships have a catch to them. In some cases honorees who receive such emails, letters or calls are not chosen by a select committee, as they are often told, but are plucked off mailing lists or have had their email addresses harvested from web sites. Phony vanity awards prey on small businesses who are trying to make their companies stand out in their industry.

Recently, the BBB has received several documented reports from Wisconsin businesses, regarding emails received from such (out of state) award notification firms. Business owners are told that a plaque and certificate have been created to mark the honor and is available for a price (a minimum of $140) and even offers a “press release media campaign” at an additional cost.

“Award schemes often have little or no value to the business within the community for which they do business,” said Ran Hoth, CEO/president of the Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin. “Businesses are generally not charged to receive honors for which they are awarded. Vanity awards are often money-making schemes that have little to do with a business’ performance.”

BBB offers the following tips when checking the validity of an award:

•Check out the company. Get a free BBB Reliability Report at
•Keep an eye out for red flags. Signs of a scam are receiving an award you didn’t apply for or omitted basic details on the organization in the email. Most awards of value to any business will come from a local business organization or a known, recognized trade organization for a specific industry.
•Don’t be afraid to ask questions. An organization offering a reputable award won’t hesitate to answer in-depth questions about its program including how many businesses are honored each year and how honorees are chosen.
•If the announcement for the award leads to a web site, do not enter any personal information on that site unless you are positive of the award’s validity.

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), 608-268-2221 (Madison) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin). Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.

Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» Everything you need to know about the holiday train's Wauwatosa stop 01:08 PM

» Initial Reaction Podcast: Would it be OK to see state-football games played other than in Madison? 12:13 PM

» Positive and uplifting stories in suburban Milwaukee and Lake Country in November 11:00 AM

» Wauwatosa firefighters captured on video battling car flames 11/30

» German retailer VOM FASS opens at Mayfair Mall 11/30

» Updated rankings of area prep boys and girls basketball teams and players 11/30

» Wauwatosa man involved in fatal Dane County crash 11/30

» Stone Creek Coffee looks to open new Wauwatosa shop on Harwood Avenue 11/30

» 10-year-old girl dies after freeway crash in Dane County 11/25

» Wauwatosa unveils convenient, affordable water online water bill payment options 11/25

» Wauwatosa East girls basketball team uses big second half to beat Wisconsin Lutheran 11/25

» Plenty of positives in Wauwatosa West girls' basketball loss to Kettle Moraine 11/25

» Wauwatosa East boys basketball team could battle for GMC title 11/25

» Wauwatosa West swimming team has bright future with talented underclassmen on the rise 11/25

» MacGillis, Barkow share Wauwatosa West boys volleyball MVP honors 11/25

» Wauwatosa West boys basketball team looks for improvement 11/25

» Sports Notes: Nov. 26, 2015 11/25

» Wauwatosa East volleyball season has solid season despite just missing another trip to state 11/25

» Wauwatosa Hurricanes return three state qualifiers — Danny Larson, Cal Hartt, Avery Weishoff 11/25

» Milwaukee County Zoo celebrates first birthday of young gorilla 11/24

» Wauwatosa stores set Thanksgiving, Black Friday hours 11/23

» Tosa's city health department earns national accreditation 11/23

» Free screening of 'Most Likely to Succeed' held Dec. 1 11/23

» Wauwatosa stores launch Small Business Saturday event 11/20

» Updated state championship game rankings of area prep football teams and players 11/19

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss



Hidden Tosa


"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where reporters Rory Linnane or Rachel Minske explore the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.


Local Business Directory