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Consumer protection, personal finance and other New Mexico business

Local BBB office warns of impersonators

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The region’s Better Business Bureau serves an important role in the community, helping consumers navigate the narrow waters that separate legitimate businesses from their illegitimate brethren.

But there are some things the Better Business Bureau Serving New Mexico and Southwest Colorado doesn’t do.

BBB LOGO 109-13Specifically, it doesn’t send representatives door to door, notifying homeowners that they are entitled to a $300 gift card.

And it doesn’t send individuals into local businesses — dressed in polo shirts with a “BBB” logo on the front and “Better Business Bureau” on the back — as representatives of the bureau.

Yet it’s reports such as these that prompted the Albuquerque-based bureau  to issue a consumer alert late last week, titled “BBB Imposters Canvassing Albuquerque Neighborhoods and Businesses.”

“Every now and then, we see this in other parts of the country, usually by phone,” Connie Quillen, the bureau’s executive assistant, told the Journal. “But it’s rare.”

In the alert, the bureau cited three specific instances of individuals impersonating BBB representatives:

– An Albuquerque woman reported that someone showed up at her door, claiming to represent the bureau, and told her she was entitled to a $300 gift card because local businesses had “pooled their money together and decided to donate it to the public, rather than give it to the IRS.”

– A BBB employee reported seeing two men wearing the aforementioned BBB polo shirts in an Albuquerque convenience store. It was determined neither of the men worked for the bureau, nor were the shirts consistent with what a BBB employee would wear.

– The BBB office was notified that individuals claiming to be affiliated with the bureau were visiting businesses in Albuquerque. The BBB says it doesn’t typically send representatives to visit local companies to push accreditation.

“BBB is alerting area residents if they are approached by someone purporting to be an employee of BBB to contact our office at (505) 346-0110 and verify their identity,” the alert says. “As always, BBB encourages you to never give out personal information to anyone.”

Read the full alert here.

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