Local businesses have received notifications that they have won a best of Salida award from the “Salida Award Program.”
The Salida Award Program is not affiliated in any way with The Mountain Mail or the paper’s annual reader-nominated “Best of Salida” awards for local businesses.
These Salida Award Program notifications include a website from which recipients can order an award plaque for a fee.
Similar town and city “award program” notifications have been reported to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker since at least June 2015.
Copies of a program press release include the same text as those from previous years with the addition of the recipient business’ name and contact information.
All three addresses brought up the same web page with the offer to order plaques.
The letters are vague about the selection process. One letter states: “Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winner in each category.”
Merle Baranczyk, publisher of The Mountain Mail, said notification of the newspaper’s “Best of Salida” winners will come directly from The Mountain Mail, either from the newsroom staff or the advertising staff.
He said winners should not respond to anyone other than employees of The Mountain Mail.
“It’s a damn shame that something like this can happen even in a small town like Salida,” said Baranczyk.
“Scammers are out there, and they scam Salida and everybody else,” he said.