I recently received notice that 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 that 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 a hundred 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 representative in its industry, whether 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, which typically says it represents a city, territory or state, will provide a real award that you can show in your office. The association’s name usually sounds legitimate, if vague: “The Metro Business Alliance” or a similar name that mentions your city or state.
Don’t fall for it. The award is meaningless and almost every company has “won,” especially if they’ve purchased the plaque or trophy in the past. A quick Google search shows many companies of all sizes have fallen for it. They send out press releases or post the news on their website, unaware that their competitors probably have won the same prize. A real chamber of commerce does not send out unsolicited awards or make you pay for a prize. Everyone wants to be recognized for their work, but buying a vanity trophy isn’t the way to get it. Don’t fall for it.