Better Business Bureau warns of fake advertising scam targeting local businesses

Scam artists are reaching out to these businesses and claiming to sell advertising with Carilion Clinic Hospitals

The Better Business Bureau serving Western Virginia has recently learned of a scam that is impacting local businesses.

Scam artists are reaching out to these businesses and claiming to sell advertising with Carilion Clinic Hospitals, specifically with their patient discharge bags.

The BBB has verified that businesses are receiving calls from an individual claiming to be Rebecca McCloud. Businesses are told that Carilion Clinic has contracted with her to advertise these bags. The caller also offers a discount if the payment can be taken over the phone.

President of Better Business Bureau Serving Western VA, Julie Wheeler, says, “By saying that they are representing Carilion and they are going to be on Carilion things, it gets people’s attention. Obviously, because we want to support the larger organizations in our area. Unfortunately, this is truly a complete scam. The email address does not go to an actual website or a legitimate company.”

The BBB says without a legit company name, they are able to tell the scammer is just looking for credit card information.

The BBB has also tried to re-dial the phone number the scammer is calling on. They said it has since been disconnected and was just a local cell phone number.

Carilion Clinic wants all its patients and partners to know that they have not contracted with any outside party to sell these advertisements.

According to the BBB, the best way to protect yourself and your business from this scam is to understand how it works and to ask questions.

“Always ask them to send your something in writing. Not just in an email, but actually send you something in writing so that you can verify a company name. If they do actually exist, then you have additional information to verify with the company that is supposed to be benefiting from this project,” says Wheeler.

You should also train your front-end employees to be aware of how this scam works, check out the offer with the organization before proceeding and have a process to verify that any invoices you receive are legitimate.

The BBB has warned businesses about similar scams where callers attempt to sell advertising with schools or local restaurants. The variations are endless, so it is important to verify any offer you receive.

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