I recently received an email that said Snips had won an award for excellence in our industry. Great! We’re being recognized for the contributions we bring to the HVAC and sheet metal industry through our coverage, except I don’t recall entering a competition for such an honor.
As it turned out, it was likely part of a very common scam known as vanity awards. This type of “honor” has been targeting businesses for more than 100 years. Email has only made it easier to find victims. The scam works like this: A business receives notice that they have been selected as a top industry representative, whether in publishing, manufacturing or marketing. The email includes a link to a press release and a digital photograph of a plaque or trophy the business is free to post on its website. For another $150-$200, the business association handing out the award, which typically says it represents a city, territory or state, will provide a physical trophy that you can show in your office or lobby. The association’s name usually sounds legitimate, if vague: “The Metro Business Alliance” or a similar name that mentions your city or state.