We have started getting calls here about this. Apparently “United Metro Works” has made its way to Texas. They are not affiliated with our chamber. This is not an official community map – IT IS A SCAM! Please warn area businesses to be wary and anytime, if they want to confirm that someone is truly affiliated with the chamber, please encourage them to contact their local chamber and ASK. Thanks for your help in getting the word out!
Scams Targeting Chamber MembersAlexandria, VA –
The Greater Albuquerque (NM) Chamber of Commerce (GACC) alerts the chamber community about a scam that has hit its membership. The scam, variations of which have struck communities across the country in the past, involves a company claiming to be affiliated with the local chamber and soliciting advertising dollars. In GACC’s instance, one of its members was contacted by a firm called United Metro Works, which claims it has contracted with the Chamber to publish an Albuquerque map. It asks for credit card information to place an advertisement within the map.
GACC officials say their organization is not working with United Metro Works.
Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau to help companies identify and deal with potential scams:
* First and foremost, if you ever receive a cold call from anyone stating that they “represent” an affiliate or vendor or program or organization you may be familiar with, and it involves PAYMENT, that you check first on the company that is calling PRIOR to divulging any payment or personal/business information.
* Businesses should ask that all advertising propositions be made in writing. Ask for a list of satisfied clients, contact them for feedback, and ask to review copies of their advertisements. See if the business selling the advertisements has a report with the BBB. For national companies, go to: www.bbb.org
* Finally, if you feel you have been deceived or misled by an offer, be proactive and file formal complaints with the BBB as well as your state Attorney General’s Office for resolution. The BBB advises that the best method of payment for anything over $50 is credit card. That way, you can dispute the charge if there is any misrepresentation or lack of follow up on service or product.
* If you have fallen victim of this company’s misrepresentation and have paid $549 to join their directory or guide, and the transaction was made via phone, you may have the right to the FTC’s three day cooling-off rule, which states that you have three days from the time of purchase or agreement to rescind your transaction in certain cases.
ACCE also reminds members to be extremely cautious of email solicitations. Members are strongly advised not to respond to these solicitations unless you have verified both the legitimacy of the institution making the request and the request itself. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NWC3), advises individuals to:
* Be suspicious of any unsolicited email requesting personal information.
* Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal information.
* Always compare the link in the email to the link that you are actually directed to.
* Log on to the official website, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited email.
* Contact the actual business/institution that supposedly sent the email to verify if the email is genuine.
from Phyllis Snodgrass
San Marcos Chamber of Commerce