Scam Award

This morning I opened our inbox to find a rather official looking email from the Board of Review, letting us know that the Weyerhaeuser Museum had won a 2010 Best of Little Falls Award.

Here’s the text of the entire letter:

I am pleased to announce that Charles A Weyerhaeuser Museum has been selected for the 2010 Best of Little Falls Award in the Museums category by the US Commerce Association.

In recognition of your achievement, a 2010 Best of Little Falls Award has been
designed for display at your place of business. You may arrange to have your award
sent directly to Charles A Weyerhaeuser Museum by following the simple steps on the 2010 Best of Little Falls Award order form. Simply copy and paste this link into
your browser to receive your award: [URL removed]

Each year, the US Commerce Association (USCA) identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Also, a copy of the press release publicizing the selection of Charles A Weyerhaeuser Museum has been posted on our website. The USCA hereby grants Charles A Weyerhaeuser Museum a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use, reproduce,distribute, and display this press release in any media formats and through any media channels.

An Award Code has been assigned to your company that can be used on our website for quick access to your award information and press release.

Your Award Code is: [Code removed]

Sincerely,

[Signature name removed]
Board Of Review
US Commerce Association

The intended recipient of this notification is the Marketing Director for Charles A
Weyerhaeuser Museum. If you have received this email in error please forward it to
the intended recipient. If you do not wish to receive further advertisements from
USCA, please mail a written request to: US Commerce Association, 5042 Wilshire Blvd #13854, Los Angeles, CA 90036 or simply click to opt-out .

I’ve seen enough shenanigans on the internet to recognize that this award looks fishy, so I googled the “U.S. Commerce Association” and the top link returned was from the Better Business Bureau, warning people not to be taken in by this organization’s “vanity awards.”

As the BBB’s article is dated July 7, 2009, and it’s now over a year later, this scam has been around a while. Someone has apparently discovered that museums qualify as businesses and is hoping museum peeps will be gullible enough to fall for this shtick. Not likely. Museum peeps tend to be skeptical by nature, know how to do their research, and won’t throw away money on unnecessary expenses, like vanity awards.

If you get an email that looks official and includes a link (like the one I removed), but you don’t recognize the name of the organization, whatever you do, DON’T click the link. It may be a phishing scheme designed to grab your personal information. Instead, open a new browser window and type the name of the organization into a search engine and see what comes up. You’ll be glad you did your research.

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