Telemarketer confuses Readers’ Choice winners

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A phone solicitor offering plaques for sale to Readers’ Choice Award winners is not affiliated with The Wilson Times and the newspaper has not authorized the sales pitch.

Businesses have reported receiving phone calls from a toll-free 800 or 888 phone number and speaking to a man who claims to be selling Readers’ Choice Award plaques on behalf of The Wilson Times, Advertising and Marketing Director Shana Hoover said.

The Times provides adhesive decals to winners of the annual contest. Plaques or certificates are not provided, and any that are commissioned from trophy and award shops are unofficial.

“Readers’ Choice winners who want plaques for display are welcome to order them from the vendor of their choice,” Hoover said. “We would encourage our community partners to shop local whenever possible and be wary of someone calling winners unsolicited to offer this service.”

The Times received more than 100,000 votes in its second annual online contest, with area residents choosing their favorite local businesses, professionals and community leaders.

Telemarketing is legal, but solicitors who falsely claim to be representing The Wilson Times may be committing a form of misrepresentation or fraud.

Anyone who suspects telemarketing fraud can report it to the N.C. Department of Justice Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or visiting www.ncdoj.gov/consumer.