BBB Warning: Entrepreneurs beware of fake marketing services for small businesses

BBB Warning: Entrepreneurs beware of fake marketing services for small businesses

Small business owners have years of experience in their industry. They have found ways to improve processes and use that knowledge to their advantage. They may not be as familiar with marketing.

Many small business owners need to overcome their lack of experience in attracting new customers by turning to marketing agencies and firms. The demand for these services leads to the chance for scam artists to take advantage of small business owners. Multiple reports of fake businesses tricking small business owners into signing monthly contracts for services that are never performed are received by the Better Business Bureau.

The scam is explained.

A small business owner is looking for a low-cost marketing service. The company may claim to offer a variety of services for a low monthly fee.

The company becomes difficult to communicate with once a small business owner signs up and pays. Social media posts, graphics or logos may be delayed or postponed. Getting in touch with the company after payment has been made is almost impossible, and attempts to cancel the service go unanswered, requiring the business owner to cancel the card associated with the account.

One Texas-based business reported to the Better Business Bureau that they received an invoice for $790 in the mail for advertisement services that they did not approve and had no prior contact with the supposed advertising firm.

The business said they didn’t approve anything like this and knew it was a scam. It appears that this was a scam and was done over a number of states.

There are fake services.

Before hiring, research the company thoroughly. Get to know the company before you contact them. Make sure their websites and social media accounts are legit. Customer complaints and reviews can be found on the Better Business Bureau website. Legitimate marketing companies take pride in their digital presence because it is often the most-requested service of their clients and gives them an opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities. Evaluate how the company positions itself and if it’s a good fit for your needs.

Make sure to check the contact information. Check for contact information if the company has a social media presence and a website. If the company doesn’t have a phone number or a physical address, that’s a sign it’s not legit. If a phone number is listed, you should call it to make sure it’s in service and check the physical address to make sure it’s related to the company. The addresses for vacant properties can be used by scammers.

Reach out to people you know. Check the references provided by the company to make sure they aren’t fake. Make sure it is possible to contact the people on the list and research their names online to make sure they are legit small businesses. Online testimonials posted on websites can be faked. You can learn more about the vetting process of the Better Business Bureau.

Understand what you’re spending money on. A company that is well-known will be able to give a clear description of their services and the time it will take to get marketing materials. It’s a good idea to understand the services, their scope, how they will be delivered, and when they will be given. If any of these elements are unclear or vague, look for other services.

Payment methods that are protected. Don’t pay for services by wire transfer, gift card, or pre-paid card. It is most likely a scam if someone demands payment in these ways. If you would like to dispute charges, the Better Business Bureau recommends that you always pay with a credit card, even if you use a trusted company.

The Heart of Texas is served by the regional driector. She can be reached by phone at (844)-222-4968.

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