The Better Business Bureau recently issued a national alert to warn consumers and businesses about two questionable operations that are falsely using BBB name to scam victims.
One business is perpetrating an advance fee loan scam that targets consumers and businesses with poor credit records. It has provided as a reference fictitious BBB phone numbers that are answered by representatives who falsely claim to be with Better Business Bureau and provide a positive report on business in question.
The other entity, which appears to be a telemarketer, is contacting local businesses, falsely stating to be from BBB and calling about a complaint or to update BBB files. The telemarketer proceeds to ask questions that have nothing to do with BBB business and leaves as a contact number 1.800.CALL.BBB.
"Bureaus across country are reporting calls from victims. These scammers are falsely using Better Business Bureau name to try to gain credibility with potential victims," said Ken Hunter, president and CEO of Council of Better Business Bureaus. "We urge people to double-check with their local BBB whenever they receive a dubious phone call or see BBB name tied to a questionable promotion. We’re easy to find in telephone directory or on web at http://www.bbb.org."
A company called Kirkland Russell and Thomson (KRT), supposedly located in Houston, advertises loans to individuals and businesses. KRT representatives claim that business is a member of BBB and suggest that interested customers call fictitious phone numbers for "Southwestern Division of BBB in Oklahoma City" and BBB of Metropolitan Houston to request company’s BBB report.
"The company is using BBB name as a shill for its business. These are not phone numbers of BBB's in Oklahoma City and Houston. And, neither Bureau has issued a satisfactory report on KRT. The company has produced and is distributing a fake, glowing BBB reliability report," Hunter warns.
According to complaints to BBB, KRT tells customers that they have been approved for a loan and must send a fee for "insurance." KRT asks that fee, often about $2,000, be wired to various addresses in Canada and New York. Consumers are required to submit personal information, such as Social Security number, bank account number and pay stubs.