Consumer Alert: Shady telemarketer gives

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The Council of Better Business Bureaus Inc. has issued a national alert to warn businesses about telemarketers posing as BBB employees. The callers generally claim to be phoning about a BBB complaint or to “update” BBB files. They attempt to solicit information that is not normally required in order to conduct business with or be a member of the BBB. The callers ask for names of various managers, such as the head of finance or information technology and the number of workstations at that business location. Businesses have reported that the callers became rude and used threatening language when questioned about the BBB’s need for such information or the nature of the complaint.

The callers leave a 1-800-CALL-BBB (225-5222) as their contact phone number. That phone number, which is not owned by the BBB, is constantly busy. Some businesses report that the caller gave the name “Dave Sebastian.” Other names that have been used are Claude, Ashley, Brian, and Frank. One caller spoke with a foreign accent.

A local construction company was contacted by this telemarketer claiming a complaint had been filed against them. When the company asked who filed the complaint, the caller said that 1-800-CALL-BBB had to be called for that information. When the company called the number, they received a busy signal. “Businesses need to be aware that any representatives of the BBB will clearly identify themselves and leave a local, working telephone number,” Carol Odell, CEO of the BBB of Southern Colorado said. “If you receive a call from anyone representing the BBB and are unsure as to who they are, do not give out any information and call our office immediately.”

n Companies have no “hidden” complaints with the Better Business Bureau. The b ureau typically sends complaints to businesses in writing instead of calling businesses about complaints.

n BBB staff members are forthright about who filed the complaint and how to reach the bureau. BBB employees are willing to assist businesses and consumers to amicably resolve disputes that may arise.

n Double-check with the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado whenever dubious phone calls are received or if the BBB name is tied to a questionable promotion. Contact the bureau at (719) 636-1155, (866) 206-1800, by e-mail at or on the Internet at or