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Chamber, Better Business Bureau warn area businesses about “American Chamber” scam

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

RELEASE 16-004

The Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama have partnered to make area businesses aware of a phone scam making the rounds in north Alabama, where callers claim to be from the "American Chamber of Commerce," an organization that does not exist.

How the Scam Works

Your business gets a call from someone claiming to represent the American Chamber of Commerce. The caller asks for an employee (current or former) by name and claims to be updating your company's listing in its directory. They ask to verify basic business information, such as address, business name, main contacts, and phone numbers.

This is a phishing con, as there is no American Chamber of Commerce. Con artists hope  business owners confuse the "American Chamber" with the real "U.S. Chamber of Commerce" and share information. Scammers can use this information to commit ID theft or target the business with other scams, such as phony invoices.

Tips to avoid a directory scam:
- Hang up. Don't confirm information from unknown callers. This just gives the scammers  something to use against you.
- Call again. If you want to confirm that the call was a fraud, reach out to the real organization through a phone number you find on their website or another reliable source.
- Don't believe what you see. Scammers are great at mimicking phone numbers, official seals, fonts, and other details. Just because it looks like it's from a legitimate company, does not mean it is.
- Train staff. Make sure that the people processing invoices or answering phone calls are aware of these scams.

Create a process for inspecting invoices

Always check that goods or services were both ordered and delivered before paying an invoice. Designate a small group of employees with authority to approve purchases and pay bills.

For more information, contact the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama at (256) 533-1640.

The Chamber thanks its Strategic Partners for their support.

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