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2013 Best of award scam

CitrusKiwi Web Solutions LLC has won the "Best of Citrus Heights for Web development 2013"!

Wow!  What an exciting email to receive! Of course, it lost its luster somewhat as I'd had 2 identical emails over the last 3-4 weeks for Web marketing and for Search Engine Optimization.

So what's this "best of <city name> for <your industry>" scam all about?  Money!  Isn't it always?  And this is how it works...

You'll get an email out of the blue stating that you've won. Here's the exact text from the opening line of the one I just received.

CitrusKiwi Web Solutions LLC has been selected for the 2013 Best of Citrus Heights Awards for Web Site Design & Development.

2013 award for web site designThe email goes on to say that I can get "...details and more information..." by viewing their website and giving a link.  So, curious me follows the link and, yowza!, there's my award.  It IS real! <cough, cough> All I need to do now is claim my award by clicking the link.  So I did - well, I clicked the link anyway...

As I suspected, there is a monetary cost to "claiming my award" (the award I knew nothing about and never entered; I mean, WHO judged this?  No one of course!) For $79.99 I can get a wall plaque like the image above which I 'borrowed" from their website, $179.99 for an 8" high "hand-polished optical crystal" award, or, if I was really smart, get them both for just $199.99!  What a deal!

The scam goes by a few different names and locations, but it's pretty much USA-wide.  Kelly McCartney is one name that pops up regularly, but less than previously - guess he/she is getting known! But the outcome is always the same - they want you to buy expensive award for a bogus award.  BBB warns of posting anything like this on your site as it could backfire if visitors realize just how fake the whole thing is.  Won't say much for your credibility.

A fellow web designer in Peoria, AZ (part of greater Phoenix) got the same illustrious award last year. You can see that post here. And BBB posted an article about this scam on their Wisconsin site.

Long and short of it; if you get one of these emails, it's a fake award with a very expensive trophy which YOU pay for! Read: it's a SCAM!

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