Category: Awards

European Quality Leader Scam

Businesses like to have recognition of how well they are doing – awards can impress the staff, encourage customers to buy from them and help raise their profile to the public.

There are many genuine business awards but there is also a whole industry of ‘vanity’ awards where businesses pay for an award and the award givers treat this as Marketing and have no interest in whether a business is actually worthy of any kind of award.

One of the latest of these vanity awards is the ‘prestigious Certificate of European Quality Leader’.

Floods of emails encourage you to register your business for review and it can be for any product or service in any industry.

There is no fee to enter the competition but if you enter and win an award then there is a compulsory fee. By entering, you agree to pay the fees and I’m sure there will be a lot of winners as that’s how the organisers get paid.

According to their website, the fees per product win are: –

– from 0 to 3 employees is 1,800 euros

– from 4 to 10 employees is 2,200 euros

– from 11 to 50 employees is 2,900 euros

– from 51 to 70 employees is 3,300 euros

– more than 70 employees is 4,500 euros.

Genuine awards are worthwhile, but any that carry fees are clearly fake.

Plus, in this case, entering the competition means you have unknowingly agreed to pay extortionate costs if you win.


If you have any experiences with vanity business awards – do let me know, by email.

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The Vanity Scam

This is known as the vanity scam as it relies on the ego of the business people targeted.

That target is small business owners – you receive an e-mail with an interesting offer, maybe an award or the prospect of being included in a business directory. All you have to do is hand over a fee to be included or to receive your award.

Often the incentive is a plaque or award certificate for “recognizing that your company name has been selected for the Best of Award.” Best of can be best of type, location, category of business, best new business, best small business etc.

“In recognition of your achievement, a Best of xxxxx Award plaque has been designed for display at your place of business. You may arrange to have your award sent directly by following the simple steps on the form”

Generally, the award will exist and you can get it if you pay. But the whole thing is just a marketing exercise and you’re the one footing the bill for the marketing scammers – the awards are meaningless as no-one voted for them and everyone can win one of the awards. The entire thing is just to get you to pay up.

The charge for the award or plaque is usually in the range of £100 to £250.

The scammers usually call themselves something like The Award Program, Business Recognition, Award Connections, Best of Awards etc.

Whether you consider this type of ‘offer’ to be a scam or just devious marketing is your choice, but either way many businesses are caught out and pay up thinking there is value in the awards but anyone can win so there is no meaningful value.

Legitimate awards should not come with costs to the recipient.

However there are some grey areas in the awards game e.g. you may genuinely win an award and then choose to attend the presentation ceremony/dinner and have to pay a lot of money. That’s your choice but at least if you can get the award without paying then it’s probably legitimate.

If it is coming from a mystery company, chances are they simply want your money. Businesses and organizations that offer legitimate awards will usually be willing to provide detailed information on why a specific company received the award.

Don’t pay without questioning whether an award is meaningful or just a marketing scam.

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The Scumbag Award Winners 2017

The Fightback Ninja has created the Scumbag Awards 2017 for the scammers and spammers who make our lives miserable through theft of money, time and even identity.

You have voted and here are the results.

We would like to hand over the awards in person to these heartless people, but of course they hide in the shadows until  the day they are caught.

Category: Nastiest Scam   Winner: Natural Disasters

Every time there is a natural disaster, charities and other organisations appeal for help and the public always respond. But there are always scam appeals as well.

Category: Most Public Ransomware   Winner: Wannacry

May 2017, this stopped several hospitals, doctors surgeries and much more for days before it was stopped.

Category: Holiday Scams   Winner:

This company specialised in setting up fake websites offering holidays in the Canaries. A new website each month using the same photos and offers pulled in a lot of people who paid but didn’t get a holiday and often were out of pocket further on flights that couldn’t be cancelled last minute.

Special Award Winner: Walkers Crisps 2016 Competition Scam

Not strictly a holiday scam as it was a competition but the Marketing people at Walkers outdid themselves with this nasty cheating piece of Marketing that backfired as it angered many previously loyal customers.

Category: Financial Fraud   Winner: The Evil High Street Banks and PPI

We’ve all had hundreds of cold calls about PPI (payment protection insurance) and this has been going on for years. Millions of people have had their PPI cost refunded by the banks, credit companies and 3rd party brokers who have had to pay back over £26 billion so far.

Category: Dating and Romance   Winner: Fake Investigators:

Once someone has been scammed, they are labelled as easy prey and some scammers will approach them with a new story and offer help.  There are fake investigators offering to find the original scammer and get the money back and have the perpetrators brought to justice

Category: Biggest Time-Wasters   Winner: Lifestyle Survey Calls

Endless calls “I’d like you to answer some simple questions please. It’ll only take 5 minutes”

Category: Biggest Phone Scam   Winner: The Computer Support Call

You receive a call from Microsoft/Virgin/BT to tell you your PC has a virus.


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