LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Con artists are tricking small business owners.
The Better Business Bureau has received numerous reports of phony marketing companies tricking small business owners into signing monthly contracts. These con-artists fail to deliver what they’ve promised.
Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “We know a lot of small businesses don’t have their own marketing department, they outsource that, and there’s a lot of great companies locally in Acadiana that can help with it, but we’ve had had reports that scammers are contacting small businesses claiming to be some type of marketing agency that can really help bring some visibility to their company, especially online, and they’re not actually a marketing agency, they’re just trying to collect some money from the company.”
The marketing services these scammers offer to small business claim will help bring in new customers. That is, until these con artists fail to deliver what they promised even after payment is sent.
“They request a payment upfront while they get some of these marketing materials created for them, whether it’s online advertising or even some type of pamphlets or marketing promo items that they are going to have created,” explained Babin.
Here’s the trick part… once the business signs up and submits payment, the marketing company pulling the scam becomes hard to track down.
Babin added, “You want to know exactly what you’re going to have provided to you, what it’s going to cost, and how many times is it going to cost that. What we’ve had reports of is the service or product not really being provided but then now that scammer has the business’s credit card information and continues to charge them in the future and makes themselves very hard to get in touch with.”
Here’s some tips from the Better Business Bureau on how you can spot fake services when it comes to marketing:
- Research companies before hiring. You might want to do an internet search for reviews about their services.
- Double check the contact information for the company. If there is a phone number, call it to make sure it’s in service.
- Reach out to references of the company.
- Make sure you understand exactly what you’re paying for. A reputable company will be able to clearly describe their services and timeline before signing up for anything.
If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at [email protected]