Investments in chambers of commerce and other legitimate business organizations are beneficial at all times. We at the Indiana Chamber, and many of our colleagues, are passionate about what we do. That’s why we take it somewhat personally when others try to use the “association” name to illicitly extract your hard-earned money.
Here’s the latest: A letter from the U.S. Local Business Association informing your company that you have won a Best of (insert local community) award. It instructs you to simply fill out the order form to receive your plaque. At the end, you learn that this plaque will cost anywhere from $100 to $700, according to various reports.
The problems, cited by various Better Business Bureau chapters and others:
- There is no way to contact the company other than e-mail
- Web site domain registration for the organization has been completed privately
- You must provide and submit information about your company before finding out the cost of the award plaque
- Before you agree to accept the award, the organization already has a press release on its web site stating that you are a recipient
The “vanity scam” label comes from the fact that you might (I repeat might) actually get an overpriced plaque you can hang on the wall and look at. It means absolutely nothing, however, and, in fact, will probably be a detriment as customers or clients will at some point realize that you have been a victim, not a victor.
At least one Indiana company reports receiving this solicitation (example here). To all, be forewarned.