Better Business Bureau: BBB calls for regional Torch Awards entries

By Tracy Bracy
Oct. 19, 2013 at 5:19 a.m.

Your Better Business Bureau is now accepting entries for the 2013 Torch Awards competition. These awards recognize companies that are committed to high ethical standards and service to their customers, employees, investors and overall reputation.

The Torch Awards were created to recognize and celebrate ethical business practices for companies located in Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin. Individuals and employees should nominate a business they believe values these principles for this prestigious recognition.

Any for-profit business in the 79-county service area of the Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin qualify to submit an entry. Entries can be submitted through Nov. 22. While bureau accreditation is not a requirement, companies must be in good standing with the bureau and have at least a "B" rating with Better Business Bureau to be considered.

Winners at the local level will be announced Jan. 6, 2014, and will have the opportunity to move forward to the International Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics competition.

For entry forms and additional information, visit: torch-awards

Participate in a free webinar from 2-3 p.m. Tuesday.

The webinar is specific to our Torch Awards competition and will guide interested businesses on how to compile an entry for submission and learn about the benefits to winning.

Shutdown fever - scammers take advantage of government shutdown

Scammers are masters at taking advantage of situations like the government shutdown. The Better Business Bureau warns consumers to be alert for scams using fear and uncertainty over the shutdown to victimize people. In order to avoid falling victim, never reply to unsolicited phone messages or click links provided in an email asking for your personal information.

If you're worried about your account, call or email the company directly using contact information you found independently. If a caller's claiming you owe a debt, ask questions and don't provide any bank account, social security, credit card or other personal information until confirming the legitimacy of the call.

Electric bill past due? Maybe not. Scam targets Austin Energy customers

Scam artists have been calling customers and telling them their bill is past due and their power will be shut off unless they get a money card and wire money to them or give their credit card information over the phone.

The scammers are making the city's customer contact center main number show up on caller ID to make consumers think the call is legitimate. They're also using electric utility terminology to gain customers' trust.

The scammers appear to be targeting Hispanic customers. Your Better Business Bureau advises consumers that a utility company should never ask you to make a wire transfer. If you get a suspicious call, get all the information you can about the caller, hang up and report it immediately.

Tracy Bracy is the regional director of the Better Business Bureau for Corpus Christi/Victoria. Contact her by email at



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