Spurious Awards Scam

The “Spurious Award Scam” is a vanity-targetted scam, similar to the “Who’s Who” scam where you are to be honored by inclusion in an index of the Brightest and Best, but in the small print is a small charge for inclusion.

This scam ionvolves businesses being ‘awarded’ some supposed honor, involving a certificate, and what the financial industry call a tombstone – a plastic block to leave at reception to show you won it.

The certificate is a worthless peice of paper, knocked up on a printer for about 0.0001c and the trophy, if it arrives at all is worth less than the packaging it came in.

A Scam TipOff post led me here –

The United States Trade & Commerce Institute (USTCI) scams companies into purchasing expensive trophies and related packages for awards they have supposedly earned, though the selection appears to be completely random and is often incorrect. Some companies receive the notices for excellence in a year that they were not even in business, or for doing types of work that are not applicable, or for being based in a country in which they do not even do business. This organization has been scamming small businesses for several years, and has gone by numerous DBAs, as bad press has forced them to shut down and rename. The USTCI, for example, recently changed its name from the Small Business Institute for Excellence in Commerce after people began to complain.

and this:

…all they wanted to do was charge me $100 for a meaningless certificate or three times that amount for a tacky acryllic award trophy.

See more Scam TipOffs at: http://www.scamdex.com/ScamTipReports/19339

This long-running scam uses a variety of domain names, often variations of the letters USTCI (ustci.org, ustcri.org, usiatc.org etc), they change often enough to stay off the search engines. USTCI.ORG was, at time of writing, hosted by singlehop.com in the US but has since moved to being hosted by a Chinese ISP.

From now on, I’m going to name the ISP’s of spammer/scammers in the hope that the negative publicity may cause them to more closely examine the ‘operations’ that the websites they host are involved in.

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