BBB Warns Small Businesses About Marketing Scams

bbb small business marketing scam

As comedian Tom Segura is wont to say: “Some people suck.” And we think fraudsters who trick small businesses out of their hard-earned money using marketing scams suck a little bit more.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning small businesses to be aware of fake marketing agencies looking to make a quick buck. In short, these purported businesses are making cold calls in hopes of signing you up for marketing services, with contracts paid monthly …

… for services never rendered.

The Hot New Small Business Marketing Scam

The scam works like this: You, having decided to outsource your marketing, search for a marketing agency. Or maybe you’re not looking for anyone, but a cold call or unsolicited email comes your way. The price is too good to be true! (This is known as a red flag.)

The slick-talking salesman on the other end of the line paints a pretty picture of all the new customers his agency will be sending your way. They’ll practically be beating down your doors! The promises are too good to be true! (More red flags.)

You have absolutely nothing to worry about, the slick-talking salesman promises. We handle it all! Just sign up for our monthly plan and forget about it.

So you hand over your bank information, dogecoin or stack of iTunes gift cards, and they promise to completely transform your business with an amazing marketing campaign that makes you an instant millionaire.

Hahaha, no. That’s not what happens. What does happen is … nothing. They forget all about you.

Oh, they might string you along for a few months. (You are paying monthly, remember.) They’ll tug at your heartstrings with stories about family emergencies, continually push back deadlines, and maybe even send over some shoddy, cobbled-together copy for you to look over.

You, being a sane human who is averse to throwing money into the wind each month, smartly cancel your contract. They, being the scum of the earth, pull a disappearing act.

They have your money. You have exactly bupkis.

How to Protect Yourself from Small Business Marketing Scams

We hope the above scenario is not at all familiar to the small business owners reading this post. Either way, though, there are several ways to protect yourself from falling victim.

Make sure the company is on the up and up. Read reviews, check out their website and social media pages. Also, Google their physical address to make sure it’s not a van down by the river.

Ask for references and testimonials. Also, make sure these references and testimonials are coming from real customers, not employees. (It’s OK to creep social media for this purpose.)

Ask to see samples of things they’ve done for other clients. There’s no shame in asking them to show you a website they designed or a marketing campaign they put together.

Get a contract. A contract will not prevent shady people from doing shady things. It will, however, give you a legal leg to stand on if/when shady things occur. Make sure it spells out what work will be performed, when and how it will be delivered, the fee schedule, etc.

Use a credit card to pay. Credit cards come with certain protections, including the ability to chargeback. Most other payment methods don’t. And remember: If you’re asked to pay in cryptocurrency, Fortnite V-bucks or discarded baby teeth, run.

Don’t Get Scammed!

People who think they’re “too smart” to fall for scams are usually the ones falling for scams. It can happen to anyone. When searching for a marketing agency, diligence is the name of the game!

Looking for a marketing agency that will provide lots of bang for not-so-many bucks? Mischa Communications is at your service! Give us a call.