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 bbb.org.
•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 www.wisconsin.bbb.org 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.

Community Watch

» Family, friends of man killed by Wauwatosa officer want answers 6/25

» Tosa man with gun trove to plead guilty of illegal dealing 6/24

» Wauwatosa endorses bus rapid transit route, more approvals needed Updated:  6/23

» Video: Tosa Top 5: Five things you need to know about in Wauwatosa this week 6/23

» Wauwatosa officer fatally shoots man at Madison Park 6/23

» Wauwatosa Public Library announces list of summer events 6/22

» Blood drives scheduled for Milwaukee County during month of July 6/22

» Two lanes on Wauwatosa's Harmonee Bridge to close Thursday 6/22

» Milwaukee Co. Zoo welcomes baby harbor seal, bonobo 6/22

» Teens accused of trying to rob Tosa resident with BB gun Updated:  6/22

» Hidden Tosa: Inside the Wauwatosa Police Department 6/22

» Offense holding back Wauwatosa West baseball team 6/21

» Wauwatosa East baseball wins four conference games 6/21

» Former Wauwatosa West star Austin Jones drafted by Chicago Cubs in 26th round 6/21

» East Tosa Gran Prix returns to Wauwatosa June 26 6/21

» Wauwatosa School Board votes to give teachers a bump in pay Updated:  6/20

» New records for Tosa Swim Club 6/20

» Tosa customers temporarily lose power after squirrel causes blown fuse 6/20

» Video: VISIT Milwaukee, city of Wauwatosa launch new tourism video 6/20

» Mayfair mall's Sephora draws police attention since February Updated:  6/17

» Pool at Hoyt Park running again following mid-week mechanical failure 6/17

» Wauwatosa seeks participants for survey on city communication 6/17

» Tosa Top 5: Five things you need to know about in Wauwatosa this week 6/16

» Initial Reaction Podcast: MLB Draft's Wisconsin flavor and WIAA's postseason model Updated:  6/15

» Help make memorial signs for Orlando victims at Tosa's CraftSpot 6/15

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss

Best Summer Ever

 

We've made it easy for you to get out and go this summer. From hitting the trails for a bike ride or walk, to where to find beer gardens in the area, to the best places to swim in Waukesha County to the best summer drinks and summer reads, check out our 2016 summer guide.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Hidden Tosa

 

"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where our Wauwatosa reporter explores the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.

Advertisement

CONNECT