The BBC is off to a great start for 2010!

The Better Business Council Advisory Committee had their first meeting of the new year on January 5th, and approved 9 new members! Gus Sokos of Demetrios’ Pizza House has agreed to stay on for a second year as the Chairman of the Committee, who looks forward to an exciting year under his direction. Thanks to these new members, as well as the Advisory Committee for their commitment and dedication.  For more information on the BBC visit us on the web.

aUniqueCeremony.com
BNI
Brown & Brown of Florida
Crosscreek Environmental, Inc.
Fahey Pest Management

Manatee County Independent Insurance Agents Assoc., Inc.
ProSource Wholesale Flooring
QIC Fire Corp.
Sensational Kids LLC

CDC Issues H1N1 Phishing Alert and Warning to Potential Victims

I don’t know what’s to blame… the economic conditions, growth of the Internet, or just timing. But the number of scams and phishing alerts crossing my desk these days seem to be multiplying.  Below is a new phishing alert regarding the H1N1 vaccine.  Please be particularly careful over the next few months about clicking on any unsolicited emails.  Stay as safe online as we hope you do in person!

CDC has received reports of fraudulent emails (phishing) referencing a CDC sponsored State Vaccination Program.

The messages request that users must create a personal H1N1 (swine flu) Vaccination Profile on the cdc.gov website. The message then states that anyone that has reached the age of 18 has to have his/her personal Vaccination Profile on the cdc.gov site.

The CDC has NOT implemented a state vaccination program requiring registration on www.cdc.gov.

Users that click on the email are at risk of having malicious code installed on their system.

CDC reminds users to take the following steps to reduce the risk of being a victim of a phishing attack:

  • Do not follow unsolicited links and do not open or respond to unsolicited email messages.
  • Use caution when visiting un-trusted websites.
  • Use caution when entering personal information online.

An example of the Phishing email follows:

A Warning for Businesses from the BBC!

Some business owners have reported receiving emails from the an organization known as the U.S. Commerce Association, telling them they have won an outstanding business award.  Let’s face it, who doesn’t like to be recognized, and naturally you want to show off this honor to your customers! The so-called award you’ve won is just a scheme to get your company to purchase plaques and awards. Care must be taken in such a flattering circumstance to be sure that the recognition is not an attempt to obtain access to a company’s information or elicit funds.

To avoid losing money in a “vanity award” program ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • What is the cost?  Most legitimate awards do not come with a cost for the recipient.
  • Why did you win the award?  Did you enter a contest?
  • Who is making the award?  Can you verify the existence and location of the business?

The U.S. Commerce Association also goes by the name of U. S. Local Business Association.  They have no verifiable address or telephone number, nor does their website contain any contact information.  The Washington D.C. Better Business Bureau gave the U.S. Commerce Association an “F” grade due to the number of complaints received, and how they were handled.

As a business we know you are always trying to attract new customers, especially during these tough economic times. So it’s no surprise that scam artists are aware of this and trying to take advantage of businesses trying to get a competitive edge.

The Better Business Council Welcomes 8 New Members

Better Business CouncilWe are pleased to announce the eight new members of the Manatee Chamber’s Better Business Council.

We thank them for their commitment to strengthening public confidence in Manatee County businesses through the promotion of high standards of business ethics!  For more information on the BBC, visit us on the web.

Amerigas Propane, LP

Atlas Protection Agency, Inc.

Claudia’s Mobile Home Place, Inc.

Cody’s Original Roadhouse

Conservation Enterprises Unlimited

Elder & Disability Law Firm, P.A.

LaPensee Plumbing, Inc.

Trinity Graphic USA

BBC Scam Alert: Census Taker or Con Artist?

With the 2010 U.S. Census process beginning, the Chamber’s Better Business Council warns consumers to be cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft.

There have already been reports of some census related scams emerging, with people impersonating census workers to solicit funds and try to obtain personal information from unsuspecting consumers. 

Here are the facts: 

  • Legitimate census takers will wear a badge and carry a black canvas bag reading “U.S. Census Bureau”.  The badge is not a photo ID, so ask to see a driver’s license to validate his or her identity, and never invite anyone you don’t know into your home! 
  • Census workers will never solicit donations or any other types of payments. 
  • The census taker will be gathering information such as name, address, age, gender, race, and may ask for basic financial information such as salary range.  They will never ask for Social Security numbers, bank account information, or credit card accounts. 

Mailing of the official postage paid census questionnaires begins in mid-March 2010, and these surveys do not ask for a donation. Only those who have not responded to the second questionnaire will receive a follow up from the census bureau between April and July of 2010. The workers may contact consumers by telephone, mail or in person at home – but will never contact anyone by Email, so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the census, and never click on a link or open any attachments that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.

 

A BBC Member in the News!

We at the Manatee Chamber’s Better Business Council (BBC) love nothing more than to see one of our members succeed!  So you can imagine my delight when I opened my email today to a notification that On a Shoestring, which has been a member of the BBC since 2007, racked up a prestigious accolade. Steve and Sharon Litschauer’s company was recognized by the Independent Runners of America as one of the 50 best running stores in America and the only one in the Tampa Bay and West Coast Florida area.

Wow. I knew that BBC members had high standards of ethics, which is why I love that part of my job of referring them to individuals who call the office. But to hear that a company I work with is so well thought of nationally is just about as good as it gets.

Congratulations, to Steve & Sharon!

Look Who’s Joined the BBC!

Better Business CouncilThis month, we are pleased to announce the five new members of the Manatee Chamber’s Better Business Council.

We thank them for choosing to take their business to the next level!  For more information on the BBC, visit us on the web.

Cortez Pump & Sprinkler Supply

Great Florida Insurance of Palmetto

Manatee Safety Council

Pre Paid Legal / Identity Theft Shield

Purmort & Martin Insurance Agency, LLC