Don’t get suckered: National Association of Professional Women

This started out as a post to the EFA members’ discussion list, where we’ve recently discussed a couple of scams, but it got a little long so I’m posting it here. I also gave out my URL and was promised it’d be linked to my member profile, so in case that actually does get published anywhere, I want to emphasize here that I am not affiliated with the National Association of Professional Women. Which should also be clear from the rest of the post.

I come with a word of warning about the National Association of Professional Women. They’re advertising heavily on LinkedIn, I hear, and targeting new business owners whose bullshit detectors might not be finely tuned yet. (That would include me, I’m sorry to say.) The organization seems reputable but they’ll use flattery and high-pressure tactics to upsell you on anything they can.

A week or two ago, I got a postcard in the mail offering membership and providing a preapproved membership code. I thought about it, went and checked out the org’s website, and decided it looked legitimate and possibly useful to me. The site said that every woman who applies (should have been red flag #0) gets a complimentary basic membership but that there were many membership levels. I entered the code from the mailing, filled out a form, and figured I’d check it out at the free level.

A few days later, I got a phone call from Savina (at a blocked number; red flag #1) wanting to interview me before my membership was approved and leaving the number 866-540-6279, extension 270. I called back today, and the given extension was Pamela Caldwell’s voice mailbox. I left a message anyway, and Savina called me back an hour or so later. (Red flag #2 — there was no mention of “oops, I gave you the wrong extension” or “Pamela gave me your message” or anything like that.)

Savina seemed friendly, but I could also tell she was reading from a script at points. I answered questions about my work experience, my education, my business, where I see myself in five years, what I hoped to get from the organization, what I was most looking forward to, etc. At the end of the interview she said she was pleased to offer me membership. I thanked her, thinking I’d passed some test or received some honor, and we proceeded with the paperwork process. She said there was the Elite membership level, which cost $900-something, or the Premium level, which cost $700-something but didn’t have quite so many benefits, so which did I want to sign up for?

WHOA THERE. I don’t want to sign up for either! However, we’d now spent about 15 minutes talking about me and what I wanted from the organization, so I didn’t want to feel foolish by saying “no thanks, never mind” at this point. (Red flag #3, in retrospect.) Savina said she could offer me a trial membership at $99. I said, didn’t I see something on the website about a free level? She said that was a listing only and didn’t include all the networking and seminars and other benefits I’d just said I wanted. So would that be American Express, Visa, Mastercard…?

At this point I felt trapped enough to give up my credit card information. I wish I’d come up with some other excuse: I wanted to review the welcome packet she promised to send; I wanted to run it by an accountant or a mentor; I wanted an invoice or an online form instead of giving my card info over the phone. (I later found out that others who’d said things like these were told the offer of membership was a now-or-never thing, or that welcome packets or requested invoices never came.)

So once Savina had my card info and enough information to create my member profile, she then offered to sell me a very nice plaque commemorating my acceptance into membership. She read off what the plaque would say and said that they only reserve two plaques for each member, so did I want to buy one or two for $99 each? That, I managed to turn down. To finish the signup process, Savina told me I’d get an email with my member ID and website login, told me I could download the organization’s logo and put it on my own site and business cards and wherever else, and described what would be in the welcome packet

When we ended the call, I felt swindled. I’d had no intention of spending a dime on membership, but because I’d been enthusiastic about membership for most of the call, I felt pressure not to backtrack. The more I thought about the whole thing, the more red flags started to appear, and I did what I should have done in the first place: researched the organization. My phone even offered “national association of professional women scam” when I started to type in the search box. Uh-oh.

I found blog posts and comments from 2007 through January of this year, all telling pretty much the same story, with some of the same names and phone numbers, though the exact dollar amounts changed from year to year. A post, Women Work Smart: Watch Out for Scams Attacking New Business Owners, and comments that echoed the experience I’d just had. An unfavorable article from 2009 that NAPW wanted taken down in 2012. A speaker who’d been offered a complimentary membership, then asked to pay for memberships and awards. A Ripoff Report article that had a fluffy, glowing “special update” at the top and a name removed from the original, critical report. Even negative Yelp reviews of the organization.

The more I read, the more infuriated I got. I called the number back and pressed 0 for “immediate assistance.” An operator transferred me to the Finance division, where I left a stern message saying I did not want membership, do not charge my card, and call me back to tell me there will be no charges. I read more stories of people getting the runaround and called the number again, this time dialing the extension Savina had given me, which again directed me to Pamela’s voice mailbox — only this time, her last name was something like Jean-Michel, not Caldwell (another red flag!). I left another stern message saying not to charge my card.

I expected I’d have to fight a little harder to avoid charges, since Savina had said that all membership orders were final. But an hour after I left the first message, I got a call from Ben (blocked number) from the Finance division. He asked me to confirm that I’d purchased a membership today. I said instead that I’d done a little more research on the organization and decided not to proceed with membership. He said, “So you looked at the website?” I said that I’d looked at the website and some other recommendations online, and I no longer wanted to be a member of NAPW. Ben offered no other resistance and said that he’d reverse the charges, which could take up to 24 hours. And that was that.

My bank account doesn’t show a pending charge yet, so I can’t say what amount they charged or refunded. If anything does come through, I’ll update the post.

ETA, 3/29/13: I think it’s safe to say now that no charges came through at all. It looks like I changed my mind quickly enough that NAPW really didn’t charge my card, instead of completing the transaction and then reversing the charges.

Update, 2/4/14: There have been so many more comments on this post than I ever expected (almost 200 as of this morning)! If you did purchase a membership at any level in the National Association of Professional Women, I can’t offer specific advice beyond what I’d recommend for any other purchase: contact NAPW for a refund and to cancel your membership. Contact your bank or credit card company and ask to stop the charge if it hasn’t gone through yet, or if it has, ask the customer service rep what your options are. Several readers have mentioned automatic renewals without clear notice — commenter Kim Hales said in December 2013 that text authorizing the renewals is hidden in new/updated terms and conditions that NAPW members must accept in order to login to the members-only area of the website, where you’d need to uncheck a renewal option — so if you’re already on the phone with your bank or credit card issuer, ask if you can prevent that specific renewal charge. NAPW may also have a policy disallowing cancellation within 30 days of the membership’s renewal date.

Many readers have mentioned the misleading ads NAPW has placed on LinkedIn. Yesterday, commenter Karin posted the text of the support ticket she submitted to LinkedIn and the reply she received, in which an Ads Support Specialist promised to “investigate the advertiser in question.” LinkedIn’s advertising guidelines prohibit deception or lying. Since NAPW does have a free membership level, I don’t think advertising a free membership is lying per se, but I do think this tactic is deceptive. If you’re on LinkedIn, you can submit a support ticket here.

Other readers have mentioned NAPW’s Better Business Bureau rating, which seems to have tanked over time. Commenter Glenda said in August 2013 that the LinkedIn ads touted NAPW’s A rating but that, according to the BBB, NAPW was not an accredited business. As of October 2013, NAPW still had a high rating, but commenter Lil W. said in December 2013 that NAPW had an F rating then. Last week, commenter Gabby said that NAPW’s Wikipedia page had a “Controversy” section that mentioned a C rating from the BBB. Here’s the text of that Controversy section as it appears today:

As of January 2014, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported 256 customer complaints against NAPW since 2011. Based on these complaints, the Bureau issued the company a C rating (on a scale of A+ to F) for its “failure to resolve underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints”, among other factors cited in their review of the company.[10] Dozens of consumer complaints were also filed against NAPW with other complaint bureaus, reporting fraudulent practices. In response to BBB’s inquiry regarding what measures the company was taking to resolve “underlying issues”, NAPW reported that the “trend” of complaints reported to BBB was heavily due to online “negative PR” rather than customer experience.[11]

My post here tends to rank highly in Google searches for the National Association of Professional Women, with or without the word “scam” included. NAPW has not contacted me about my experience (or for any other reason). I don’t think I or my blog really register with them.

The BBB gives NAPW a D rating today, for reasons that match my experience and those of almost all the commenters below: “Many consumers tell BBB that they are misled regarding membership prices, membership levels, and additional fees for processing and set-up. For example, consumers reported seeing an ad for free membership for NAPW on LinkedIn. However, these consumers claim that when they contact NAPW to take advantage of that offer, they find out that joining is not free. Some consumers also allege that they were subjected to high pressure sales tactics by company representatives to join the organization even before they understood the costs or benefits. Other consumers that originally agreed to join the organization but opted afterward to cancel the membership say that they have difficulty reaching any company representatives to seek a refund.”

I’ll continue to update this post with more news as it develops.

Update, 11/13/15: There are more than 550 comments on this post, which is about 500 more than I ever expected! I’m amazed that new people continue to comment that NAPW is doing the same old song and dance. Unfortunately, however, it appears to be working for them. This week, journalist Nikki Gloudemann published Anatomy of a Scam: National Association of Professional Women, a deep dive into the experiences of former members of NAPW, who’s running the organization, what it’s like to work in the call centers, and what the future looks like. (NB: This post is linked in the article and I was contacted for an interview. I wish I’d said yes.)

641 thoughts on “Don’t get suckered: National Association of Professional Women

  1. Thank you for posting this. I was just on the phone with one and I told her to hold on so I could go over my finances. Thankfully when I Googled them your post came up. I can’t believe an organization is doing this to women. It’s very misleading. The representative, named Adrian, started off with the elite membership at 989. I thought it was $9.89, not $989.00. Then it went down to intermediate membership at 789. Then down to 189. Then down to the basic at 99. I thought to myself, OK, this sounds like a scam.

  2. HA. I got 989.00, 789.00, 489.00 and thanked her for her time. I agree with you Betsey!. Glad I found this. Have a great day all!

  3. I just got one of those phone calls today. I was very blunt. Once I heard that the “free” membership wasn’t actually “free” (and cost hundreds of dollars), I said, “I don’t have any money, so this isn’t for me” and hung up as the telemarketer attempted to address my objection (perhaps by offering me the $99 “trial”).

  4. Thank you so much for posting this! I received a call from “Demetra” earlier today and had a conversation that sounded very much like yours. At the end of an approximately 15 minute long discussion, I was quoted membership levels costing $989 and $789, and there was definitely a hard sell. I didn’t bite, but my goodness, the woman did a good job of trying to sucker me in. I’m shocked that the NAPW ads are so prominently placed on LinkedIn. Actually, I’m disappointed that they’re there at all.

  5. I too received a letter in the mail offering membership, which I filled out and returned. Then I got a call from someone named Jennifer. I have been playing phone tag with her for the past two weeks, never having the ’15-20 minutes’ to spend on the phone when she calls as she calls me during my work day. Therefore, we have not yet been able to connect, so in the meantime I decided to search about this firm online. I found your post and reviews…..so glad I did! I will not waste my time trying to reach “Jennifer” again and I thank you for posting all of this information!!

    Kathy

  6. This “professional association” (and I use the term loosely) is still going strong and trying to recruit people. I accidentally clicked on a banner ad on LinkedIn and got on their list. I thought, “Well, I’m in it now, might as well see what it’s about.” Big mistake. I have blocked their phone number, told them to stop calling me, and reported them to the DNC List. They still call me every single day, using a different number. I block that one, and they pop up again from another one. This is not a professional association – this is telemarketing at its worst. I refuse to be associated with any company that employs these sort of underhanded tactics.

  7. I am so glad I declined to give my card and read this article, thank you, thank you, thank you Rachel! I too, found it on LinkedIn after I changed my title to Director of Business Development. After the lady told me how much it was going to be, I hesitated and said “I don’t have my wallet on me, can I call you back?” She immediately went into the cheaper membership fees and I said “Wait, I said I don’t have my wallet, now there are cheaper memberships?” At that point I knew something fishy was going on, I could tell she was reading from a script. I’m sure they are going to blow up my phone now.

  8. Thanks for this. I started my business in April and have been looking for as many networking opportunities as I can find. NAPW found me and I thought it would be great, but something just seemed “off” so I wanted to check them out before I even contacted them. I’m so happy I found your post. You likely saved me much time, aggravation and money!

    Diane (fellow copy editor and EFA member)

  9. Thank you so much for posting this! I was on the phone with Eda and the same exact story as Betsy on September 16th happened to me! Way to say no :)

  10. I just got a call after I responded to their tactic on LinkedIn. Great article here, I blocked the phone as soon as I finished reading this article. I cannot believe that there are organizations out there living off of the hard working and ambitious. I cannot believe that there appears to be women who have fallen for this, with 700k plus members, as they claim. Amazes me. Thank you!

  11. I appreciate people like you who create such postings so naive people like me don’t get “suckered” in. I am an emerging author with less than minimal funds so even the basic $100 plan this company has would have strapped me and prevented me from being able to get costumes and birthday presents for my twin boys for their Halloween birthday this year.

    I just got off this call but fortunately did not have the money today to do this. I told Debbie I would call her back Friday but I think now I shall forget to make that call. The appeal of having over 7000,000 people world wide potentially viewing The Blackthorne Saga was definitely there. But when I looked NAWP up again I found this posting. Thank you again for saving me the money and trouble.

  12. Sadly, your post is still timely as NAPW’s tactics are still going strong. Luckily, I read your article before I took a call with them scheduled for later this morning. Your few-minutes read here saved me who knows how much more time and headache – thank you!

  13. Hi, I just read your post and the other comments and now I will be filing a complaint against NAPW today with the Better Business Bureau. I was suckered into joining the club when I lost my job after 32 years for a networking opportunity back in 2011. Well, I just received my latest credit card statement and there was a renewal fee from NAPW for $199.00. My fault because I didn’t realize they were renewing my membership every year since then for $199.00 a year. I called to have the account cancelled and to credit my account. Because they “said” they sent me a postcard telling me that I will be billed on my credit card I would not receive the full amount. She said because I didn’t call within 30 days that I would only get back $149.00. I never received a postcard, plus the women I spoke to was so rude that she needs to find a professional etiquette class to go to. I told her I would probably speak to a lawyer about a Class Action suit be brought against NAPW for keeping my $50.00. She asked me if I was threatening her. I also told her to send me the postcard to my email address. Because I don’t believe there was a “Postcard” sent out in the first place.

    Thanks for the article.

  14. I noted that Kathleen is going to file a complaint with the BBB and probably a class action suit. I was curious – is what the NAPW doing considered mail fraud? If so, the United States Postal Inspection service can investigate NAPW and bring criminal charges against them for misrepresenting themselves through the mail since they mail out letters. Would be interesting to find out.

  15. I was contacted by a woman named Debbie. She went through the whole routine of how pleased they were to accept me as a new member, and then she said there were two different levels she could offer me. the 1st 999.00 and the 2nd 799.00, but she recommended the elite (of course). When I said No thank you – she said if the money was a problem – they had other levels available. She said they had a 499.00. I again told her no thank you. She said we have a basic for 199.00 and I said no thank you again. She said for the first year “I can take $100.00 off and it would just be $99.00.” I told her I would have to think about it – have a good day. I can’t believe the scam – and they call themselves Professional Women? Should be Professional Scam Artist!

  16. I fell for this scam… almost… Once they started talking large sums of money to “join”… I was OUT! Thanked her for her time and politely declined! $989 to join a FREE group! Shame on these people for scamming hard working women out of their money…. the BBB should put a STOP to this!

  17. I missed all their calls unintentionally in the past week and picked up the call with the number 510-860-4219 this morning.They used the same techniques with me by first interviewing me, then proceeded to offer me two highest levels of membership. When she sensed that I might be giving up the offer of the membership, she began to tell me the $199 level, then $99, until I said that I was feeling uncomfortable with how this call was going. She hung up quickly. I think she said her name was ANNA. However, when I asked to confirm her name, she ignored it. My gut was telling me that was a scam, so credit card information was provided.

  18. To add one more to the long list of complaints, I had the same experience, same script. Fortunately the red flag for me was early in the call since it was in response to the application I submitted…..which I never did. I continued just to see how far it would go to get to the ‘gotcha’. Since they are all over LinkedIn, I admit my curiosity was peaked. She proceeded to go on and on about all the wonderful benefits and then was so nice to graciously ‘accept me’ into the membership. After finally disclosing the cost, told her I wasn’t interested so she kept lowering it, all the while keeping all the same benefits. I agreed to at one point $199 just to see where it would go from there. She insisted on the cc# over the phone. When I told her no, but send me the information by email and I would research and decide later she said she MUST be on the phone to make sure everything went ok on the back end….I finally hung up on her. Disappointing and hoping the news spreads and LinkedIn drops them!

  19. I just received a call and interview, yesterday. During the interview, I expressed a desire to be billed in the mail. “Jean” gave me a secret code I could use to input my information over the web. After the $900 and $700 fee, I decided not to bite, but to do a little research. I am glad I did. Jean still calls me.

  20. I got a call last week as a result of connecting with NAPW through LinkedIn and I told her I was on vacation and to call me back today. I am so happy I read your post because now when I get the call, I will be sure to tell her from the get-go that I am not interested and save myself 15 minutes of minutia and apparently money as well! What is LinkedIn getting paid to allow this unscrupulous company to have access to LinkedIn members?

  21. I literally just got off the phone with them. I had been curious after getting the info in the mail, so I filled it out thinking it sounded great for what I thought was a free membership. At the end of the conversation she told me the $900+ cost then a $700+’option. I said I would pass as I didn’t know it cost money and did not want to sign up at this time. She then suddenly could offer me a $199 membership or something around there. I said “no thank you.” She then offered $99 for 6 months. I said “email me the information and I will decide.” Well then she said she could offer me the other 6 months free so a whole year for $99. I still declined. She said she would email me but it would not have the cost of membership levels included. As soon as she mentioned cost I regretted not doing further research besides their own website before filling out the application to begin with!

  22. I just got off the phone with the billing division. My experience is the same as everyone else’s — hard sell, “bonding” with me when I told her I volunteered with rescue dogs, reducing the membership fee, “commemorative” plaque(s). I sent e-mail messages to both the billing and membership offices this morning. Member services immediately replied, stating that it was their policy to address these concerns by phone and someone would be calling me. That wasn’t good enough, so I called. The woman I spoke to, Marilyn, was very nice. I told her I had some some research and decided that membership wasn’t for me. She had my email and confirmed what I had written. She explained about the bad reviews & comments and promoted what they could do for me, but without me saying anything in response, said that they would be issuing a credit to my card. She verified my address & e-mail, said the credit would take 3-5 days to show up, and I’d be receiving a confirmation by e-mail. She did close with “if you every decide that you would like to be a member–and we have many services that would benefit you, particularly in your area (I work in DC)–please contact us.” I figured she had to say that.

    I was very surprised. I’m sure I’m not the first call she’s received this week requesting to cancel, but I was expecting a fight. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the credit on my Visa statement.

  23. Thank you very much for the blog and postings… I have been receiving their calls for a while soon after I felt for the Linked-in posting. Finally, I called back to find out what it was about and the same thing, the nice lady was asking me questions and welcomed me as a new member; then I asked her about their dues or fees and she told me about the elite and other membership levels available, so soon after that I told her that I was not interested and to please remove me from their contact list, I was able to take this decision thanks to all of you that took the time to write your comments and experiences with this group.

  24. Thank you for this information. I clicked on the webpage link in linked in, all the same thing, pressure tactics and the such! I said that I was in a different part of the building and away from my personal information and could not get there, when they so graciously offered me the 900 dollar member ship. After I said I did not have my CC with me she then went on to explain the preferred membership @ 789.00 the Standard at 489.00, the Intro @ 199.00 and the basic 6 month @ 99.00. Then proceeded to say which one would you like? I stated, ” I just told you I don’t have my CC with me.” Response, ” oh yes that’s right, can I call you back tomorrow” She has called I haven’t answered, but then decided to look around. THANK YOU FOR THE POST!!!!!!!!! What a pile of crap. Women don’t need to pay money to join a group. Bring a bottle of wine and let s all meet somewhere to enrich each others lives. I need advocates that will promote and network with me, which comes from not paying someone to do that.

    Thank you So much!
    JoDee Johnson

  25. Thank you so much for posting your experience! I almost got suckered, but was able to put them off for awhile, because I didn’t have time to talk on the phone to answer their questions. Something seemed a bit fishy, and when I googled them I found your article. Thanks again!

  26. Scam for sure. Everything the author of this blog said is TRUE! Do NOT fall into the trap of giving your credit card to these people. Simply hang up. How can they go from 900 to 700 t0 199 to 99 dollars in one call for the same type of membership? Throwing around names like Starr Jones, etc., is not helpful either. What organization demands a 900 dollars membership to attend meetings and seminars? JUST HAND UP! I had this woman call me and she tried everything from filibusterer to “warning” me of the risk of not signing up. I Just said NO! and be done with it! Tell them you will give them a call when you’re ready. The turning factor is when I said I will do some research and talk to a few of my colleagues prior to signing up and that woman went wild! It seems she was hiding something so I said, NO THANKS LADY!

  27. Another note, for those who wish to stop all future payments from this scam of a company, contact your bank and have them block any payments from this company and tell them if any charges are processed to your account you like to report is as fraud. Also for those who submitted a request for a refund, give a copy to your bank so they can process/force a refund on your behalf. The more financial firms engaging in stopping these scammers the better.

    Cheerio!

  28. This is awful! I just had to hang up on “Barbara Egan” after I told her that I felt like I was in a deal with a used car salesman! She called constantly leaving messages even with our Receptionist. She got me today and as mentioned by other posters, started with the $989 Elite Membership or the $789 Preferred Membership. I told her that I would check with my Legal Department about this. She then offered me the $489 membership. By this time, I’d found this posting on a Google search, so I wasn’t paying her much attention. My hesitation caused her to give me the information about the $199 fee. After I told her that I was feeling like I was talking to a used car salesman, she kept talking…this is when I had to introduce her back to the dial tone.

    THANKS FOR THIS POST!!!

  29. Thank you for posting this article! I just got a call from a woman named Dawn and at first she seemed lovely and the process seemed normal. As soon as she told me the prices, red flags went off in my brain and I said I would need to think about it before providing her my CC number. She absolutely would not take no for an answer and that was when my suspicions turned to outright irritation. It was clear from her refusal to let me think about it that she was not looking out for my best interests. SCAM through and through. What a pathetic organization!

  30. I had just signed up at the Trial Membership (99.00 for 6 months but extended for a year), When I got off the phone I thought i would do a bit more digging and came across your article. I called right away and got the billing department. the CSR was very nice and said that she canceled my membership and the “pending charge” should drop off of my account. I will keep my eye on it to make sure. I would always assume that there is a membership fee for an organization of the size but the amounts were crazy.

  31. LOL, I thought it was a scam from the beginning but thought you know what let me just hear them out. I got the call missed it called back and the woman answered said: Hold on let me see if someone from the Association is available to talk to you. That didn’t sound right so: Red flag 1. Got connected to a man: Red flag 2? Asking the same questions and I thought: are they trying to bs me but played along. I was just waiting for the money question. Then I was approved! Yeah right, LOL. Are you kidding me? Same thing, offers and I said well I first want to check out the website. Last minute he tried to sell me the $99 package and I knew it was a scam. So here I am. Found your article. I wonder how many they swindled.

  32. Sorry to say, but, I too, had a similar experience. I felt as if I had encountered a used car salesperson. It was very high-pressure, and I DID NOT like it at all. First off, I think that their website should list the different types of memberships that are offered. Second, a person SHOULD NOT be pressured into buying whatever it is they’re selling as that scares potential members away, and third, this organization needs to be restructured.

  33. I think that they have re-branded as the WorldWide Association of Female Professionals. I just got off a phone call with them and it was a nearly identical experience.

  34. I received a card from NAPW saying my membership is confirmed! And I thought to myself, I don’t recall joining an organization for women. I was excited at first “specially on the card it says “be part of America’s largest and most powerful network for women” in my mind, I said I needed this. But my gut feeling tells me to check out their website and I found your post. Thank you Ms. Lee. You saved me from stress and hassle that a lot of people went through. I always believe in Karma. That’s all I got to say. I didn’t bother reading what NAPW have to say. Thanks again.

  35. I just got a NAPW mailer today at my office about membership. It just looked a bit suspicious to me so I immediately Googled it and your post came up. Thank you for posting this! You’ve saved many, many women from losing hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

  36. I received the invitation today, too. Glad I trusted my gut and researched this before getting scammed.

  37. Just received a call from Sabina- Sounded awesome at first. Especially since I am always looking for a positive group to possibly join. Started as free- went to 989.00 then 789.00 then wanted to send me an invoice to my email. I said whoa! do not bill me- my company pays for professional memberships, but I had not approached them on this. Supposed to call me back! I am soooo happy I found this on Google~ I am in no way answering that call. THANKS!!!

  38. Thanks for the post! It was really helpful, Its annoying you think they called you because your professional profile instead of cheating you

  39. Thank you for posting! And, updating. I sent in the card and got a phone call. I said I couldn’t talk at that time and it was hard to get them off the phone to the point of almost being rude (on their end). The whole thing seemed odd, so I’m grateful for the post as I will turn this down when they call back.

  40. I received the same type of notice in the mail that “your 2016 membership has been approved,” etc and I’ve gotten many follow up phone calls requesting “more information about my application,” which I paid no money for thank goodness! 1st red flag for me was that the article of mail was addressed to the business name I had only “reserved” with my state, but when I actually registered my business this year, one of my state’s representatives told me that a specific word in the title of my business would mean that I require a special license, which I do not for the type of business I’ve started this year. How can I be accepted to an organization for a company that I never registered? I have never since heard from them addressing my actual company name that was registered with my state department. They could be a legitimate company that makes their money when a business owner signs up for certain benefits, but if they’re offering “free” membership for certain things, and not standing by their advertisement, which is false advertising, then they should be reported. Based on my limited experience with this company, I cannot say for sure that NAPW is full of scammers, so I don’t have much basis to report them, but if any of the bloggers believe they have been scammed, I think it is your duty to report them to the BBB or your state – or even to the post office mail fraud site if you received a piece of mail that turned out to be fraudulent. Let’s protect other women, especially those new business owners out there, take a few minutes of your time to type up a report/complaint and get back to your budding businesses. I’m glad to have read this article, some other comments/negative experiences; and if I had enough evidence or involvement with NAPW, I would certainly report them!

  41. I wanted to share my story as well to save other people from falling for this:

    This is a scam. I don’t know about everyone else’s experience but I was definitely scammed.

    I fell for it because it was perfect timing. I have been attending actual legitimate women in business seminars hosted by valid sponsors and accelerator programs on a regular basis. (FYI a single one never cost me more than $15, if not FREE). I mistakenly assumed that they were somehow affiliated and that was how they got my info, so I returned the postcard.

    While I didn’t bite on the first two membership fees I paid quite a bit because i’m used to absorbent fees here in Manhattan even though I still thought this one was a tad high. I thought I would maybe get more out of this in return. Yes it was my mistake for jumping in blindly on an assumption, and I take blame for that and have learned a lesson. I didn’t realize scams like this existed so it never entered my mind. Nonetheless, that does not make it right. They couldn’t have been luckier when they called me.

    The woman on the phone told me that it was a group for other business owners, with relevant events in New York with emphasis on it being one of their biggest chapters leaving room for me to assume that meant there would be many events.

    I coughed up the dough only to be told there is no refund AFTER they gladly took my money.

    I signed on to the site and found that there were no events by my home IN MANHATTAN just a single irelevant one. No groups to meet other business owners like i was told, no related WEBINARS like i was told. It was just a junky job board, with tons of adds, some meetup groups (I am already on meetup thank you) and one event that met on the 4th of every month that had to do with fitness and nothing else.

    So as far as I am concerned, I was LIED to told what I needed to hear to get me to sign up and then I was told I couldn’t have my money back AFTER they took it. I was sold a car that did not drive.

    All I know is that I will get my money back one way or another.

  42. So happy to have found this! I also got a postcard in the mail saying I had been nominated for membership in the NAPW and I thought “Oh wow, this seems like an opportunity!” I just received a phone call this morning at work, asking if I had 10-15 for an interview. I politely asked to reschedule, since HELLO I’m at work. Thank goodness I found this post! Now I can tell her to bug off when she calls back :)

  43. Looks like there’s a new organization/company doing the same scam…may even be the same people with a new name. It’s called the North American Association of Business Women. I didn’t sign up or call, but it looks very much like the same thing from what I can tell.

  44. Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve just started a small business and received their an invitation to join their association. This company should be ashamed of themselves.

  45. Thank you! I just got the mailer and it actually seems surprisingly legitimate. Glad the first thing I did was google and read this article. Crazy that they’re STILL AT IT. There are so many awesome business resources out there by now for women entrepreneurs. I hope these folks move on and find something productive to do!

  46. OmG I fell for Womans Association of Female Professionals WaofP.com
    The same practice. I’m from Germany and they really put pressure on you by saying now or never this is your one time chance.
    I’m very sceptic but it seemed very serious, I was contacted over Linked In and I didn’t want to leave my credit card information via phone but the lady on the phone promised the card will never be charged without my agreement.
    I got calls and I never had time to pic them because of the time difference they mostly came in the evening.
    Then unfortunately I called back and had to spell my name which I first refused. The lady told me its just for safety reasons so I thought what could be wrong by spelling my name. Just 30 min later I got a bill that they had charged my credit card with an amount of 699,95 dollars for a news letter feature I never ordered. I was never asked.
    I immediately had my credit card locked but they had already charged it. I immediately wrote back to the association and told them that I do not agree with this practice.
    All together they have charged my credit card with 1500 dollars for nothing!
    We woman work so hard in trying to move forward with our business that we fall for this unserious practices!
    I hope I will be able to get back part of my money – if not this is a wicked Life Time Lesson!

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