By Shellie Kreter, BBB Communications Assistant
Here at Better Business Bureau, we see many scammers try to impersonate government agencies. We’re particularly disturbed by a recent variation on this scam, however, because the callers are claiming to be employees of BBB.
In this scam, business owners receive a call from 882-014-0325 and are told that “the Missouri Better Business Bureau” needs to update its records about the business. The callers then ask for detailed information about the business.
Calls from 882-014-0325 previously have been attributed to a group of impostors who attempted to contact Michigan business owners earlier this year. In a July 13 press release, BBB Serving Eastern Michigan wrote that “business owners are being told to hang up on calls from someone claiming to be from state government and requesting the business address. The caller can seem to speak with authority by noting that the information is required by the State of Michigan Corporations Division in order to complete an annual update.” They say similar schemes resulted in victims receiving bills for false document-filing fees.
BBB Accredited Business Molly Maid of St. Louis informed BBB that it had been called by someone who identified herself as a BBB representative and demanded information to complete Molly Maid’s file. Molly Maid knew that its BBB Business Review was complete and accurate and became suspicious, which led the company to call BBB|St. Louis. Molly Maid also told BBB that the call had come from the same number as the previous calls.
If you or your business receives a suspicious phone call of this nature, ask the representative if you can verify their identity and call them back. Ethical businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies will be happy to prove who they are. Simply ask the person you’re talking to for their name and their extension. Then, look up the main number for the agency they claim to represent , call and ask to be directed to them. If the information checks out, you know that you are really speaking with a representative of that organization.
If you want to check on a business’s reputation, search for their BBB Business Review at our website.
BBB also wants to reassure the public that we never charge to either update a business’s information or to give information to the public. If you’d like to correct or add information about your business, you can fill out a registration form at our website.