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.)

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

  1. They are now targeting graduate student, not that I have money for any of the membership prices anyways. haha. Thanks for the post!

  2. Thanks for your posting, Rachel, I thought it was bullshit too. I just paid the State of Florida for incorporation papers and voila!, NAPW is kissing my butt with accolades of “outstanding leadership and commitment to my profession. Sheesh, I’m 5 grand in the hole with business start up and my commitment is to the Federal government for my student loans!

    Take care and keep watchdoging- Bettie Theroux

  3. I thought it was a good idea cause I saw them on linked in, and well now they are harrassing me on my cell and work number EVERY day. I now ignore the calls, I want nothing to do with them! UGH!

  4. Wow! I almost fell into this! I was just on the phone with them today and at the $99 offer. I told the lady (Demitra?) I did not have the budget for any of these membership levels at this time. I’m glad I hung up! Damn, I thought it was a real thing, too. I feel stupid. I haven’t fallen for scams in nearly eight years, and this happens. Wow. Thanks for posting this!

    – Nida

  5. I actually had a similar experience although I didn’t give them my credit card info. I am a grad student who works full time. If I had the $700 for membership, I would put it towards my student loans or credit card that I use to pay for school. If this were the American Counseling Association (ACA) or a more selective organization I would (possibly) reconsider. For one, calling on my work line is out of the question, and then taking up 10 minutes of company time is an insult. I tried calling them back to have my name taken off the list (I work in marketing and customer service, so I know they can take me off) and no answer every time.

  6. I had the same conversation. I figured it was a scam when first she (Marcia Davis) only told me about 2 prices (Elite package $989, Preferred package $789), when I told her it wasn’t financially feasible for me right before Christmas she then started telling me about another package $489 the Standard package, when i still insisted i couldn’t afford it she then pushed for $199 and then the $99 package. At this point i was frustrated with her and uspet that I wasted 15 minutes of my day realizing it was a scam, so as I’m talking with her I do a search for NAPW scams and up came your post. I then got stern and told her I wasn’t interested and hung up on her!

  7. Just got off the phone with Yolanda with a callback number at 424-284-1929 (California area code, specific number does not come up as a valid number when doing a reverse phone number search). I am supposed to call her back with “my decision” by the end of this Friday (today is Wednesday around 1030 PST).

    First they called my Cell at a blocked number then my work immediately after. Packages just like above…$900 then $789, Then $400 something, then $99. She started me for Free for now because “I am late for my 1030 meeting” that I made up. She kept pushing for “where I wanted my package sent, and what credit card I wanted to use”. I told her it wasn’t very professional for a woman to call another woman at work expecting me to make a last minute business decision like so? She was stunned. I have a feeling its going to take some time to get me phone number(s) off her list.

    I can thank you enough for this post. You have saved me, because I was honestly considering this. We should all start our OWN professional women’s network. Only we wont screw people like they do. :-)

    Kristen H

  8. I’m sorry to say that I fell for it, I thought it would be good to belong to an Women’s organization. I signed up for the preferred package. A few months later, they called to say I was selected as “Woman of the Year”. When I said that I didn’t want to spent the money, she kept bringing the price down. Well, I fell for that one too!! So, today, I received a call that all my information would be published and a copy sent to the Library of Congress and 10 copies for me to sent to friends and relatives (for hundreds of dollars). I finally said, “NO”. Please learn from my example. If I can save women from making this mistake it will be worth the money they got from me. Trust me, they will find a way to get hundreds of dollars from you every few months if you fall for their flattery. I only wanted to network with other women and perhaps to mentor and be mentored.

  9. I just finished speaking with the rep, and sure enough your whole thing was word for word what the caller tried to say and due. first $989, then $789, then $489 then $199, and I hung up before she got to $99. I’m in charge of a small insurance start up and I’m still trying to make profits. I’m not going to spend money on an organization when social networks are all free for the most part.

  10. Thanks so much. I just screened a call from 424 number and then go ogled it. Luckily one of your commenters listed this number in her post. They got my info from an opt in on LinkedIn. I’m so glad I searched and I’m so glad you shared your experience. I don’t know if I would have gone for it or not but now I know not to answer my phone except to kindly and quickly decline.

  11. Just got home to a phone message that I returned. I received a phone call back from Lynda who needed to interview me. After a long conversation she told me of how I would be a perfect member to be accepted into the organization and she was forwarding my information for the okay to be included in this private organization along with sending me an email with my password. At no time did she mention that they wanted payment making me feel as if this was a free organization. Then I am tossed the high membership fee of the $900 or $700 figures. When I did not agree she asked if budget was a concern and I said yes so she came down to a $400 figure. Still noticing that I was not giving in she came down to a six month figure that she would extend to a year for $199. After that she told me she could do a $99 introductory and wanted my credit card number. At this point I told her that I have been out all day and need time to get myself together. She then told me that she would give me a free trial. I now just looked up NAPW with scam and found this blog. I am happy that I thought fast before handing over my financial info.

  12. OMG Just downloaded my credit card transactions and I see they charged me $789 !! I joined several years ago and paid the first year extra charge being told then that the annual dues were in the hundred dollar range. I have just placed a call to their billing department and will contact my credit card company when I finish this comment. I did check their web site just now and there is no information whatsoever about member dues or charges of any kind.

  13. Ha! I just got off the phone with Paula from NAPW. She was very well trained and had a reply for every objection I had…what a sales person! Your article popped up first in my quest for more knowledge about the organization. I am sorry you got suckered…but I did post your article on my Facebook page. Shame on them!!

  14. I just looked this up while i was on the phone! Thank GOD you posted!!! I felt bad but I couldn’t get her off the phone…I just hung up. Phew. Dodged a bullet.

  15. I just went through this as well- Exact same numbers and offers. I am a Chief Sales Officer myself and I had to laugh at the sales tactics that were used. They were very pushy salespeople! I was thinking…wow, if we just used these nasty tactics, we could make some big money…but we don’t because we aren’t nasty. Oh my. She actually had me considering it for a moment myself when they got down to $99. I now have my free membership, but poor me, I won’t have the same benefits as everyone else does. I’m so sorry ladies. For an organization that claims to empower and bring women together, taking advantage of women should not be tolerated.

  16. Glad I came across your blog posting! I looked into joining up with them a month ago, entered my email and phone number I believe for a free trial membership and was going to come back at another time to look into it further. Well, to date I have received many, many phone calls from them and then another blocked number. I haven’t answered any of them as I never answer my phone for people I don’t know. The first time they called, they left a voicemail. I wasn’t interested at the moment to look into it as I was swamped with client projects. I figured I’d just call them back at another, less busy time. Then they kept calling, and again, and again. A little pushy… I no longer am interested and now definitely not so since I read your posting! Thank you for sharing!

  17. I fell for it and now I am regretting every penny of it. I haven’t heard from the organization since they took my money. Any way I can get a refund??

  18. I normally do not post comments online but this time the offense is so great I felt compelled to warn other women. I am sorry to say I had the same experience this week as Linda Harrington having found a pending credit card charge for $489 from NAPW. I immediately called their billing dept., left a message, got no reply, called again and only got a voicemail. I decided to go to the website and see what was going on. BIG MISTAKE. If you are an existing or renewing member, DO NOT LOG ON AND ACCEPT THEIR NEW TERMS AND CONDITIONS!!! As soon as I clicked “agree” I confirmed I had read and accepted their new terms and conditions. I then called the renewal phone number instead of the billing number and got a person to speak. Jennifer informed me that they had changed their terms and conditions and I had been sent a notice. I asked her to confirm when and where that notice was sent. She didn’t know, they apparently don’t keep track of that. I searched my mail, there was no record of any email. Jennifer then informed me that they had a 30 day prior to renewal cancellation policy and since I had gone to the website and clicked on “agree” I authorized the renewal. In the end,”as a courtesy” they agreed to refund me $290 so my “valuable” membership through December 2014 will only cost me $199. Jennifer said they would send me an email confirming that the auto renewal option on my account was cancelled. I never received it. Since I don’t want to miss the 30 day prior cancellation date, I emailed them today requesting cancellation of my account upon renewal (in December 2014) . Expensive and frustrating lesson. Don’t get suckered.

  19. Just got off the phone. Lindsey Brandt swindled me, so much so I called my husband to verify the charge and clear it with our accountant. I told her I wanted to call her right back and she said there was no need. I could put her on hold, and she would finish up the paper work while I contacted him. That was the flag for me. I hit the mute button, cussed out loud, and found myself here. I just hung up the phone and my stomach is sick thinking people actually feed their families with money from a scam such as this.

  20. Just dodged that bullet today – I was wondering why they have been relentlessly calling me the last couple months. Finally, I took the call. The lady I spoke with instantly began making friends with me and went through the same script others have mentioned. I was shocked when they wanted over $900 for an annual membership – red flags went up right away and after several more minutes of turning down each decreasing level of membership, I ended the call. So obviously a scam when they try that hard to sell you. Legitimate organizations will take no for an answer.

  21. I just got a call today from this organization and felt good about the call UNTIL the $900 membership was mentioned. She kept weeding down to the $90 membership and at that point I just hung up the phone (she has not called back). Than I get on the internet an find your blog. Phew….I dodged a bullet for sure.

  22. I just ended a call with Leslie from “NAPW”. I went through the interview process, answering all the questions, and being congratulated for being accepted as a member of NAPW. Then came the spiel on the different membership levels, beginning, of course, with the Elite Membership at $989. When I did not accept that level, the Preferred Membership was offered, and and then the Regular Membership, and so on, down to the $99 trial membership, which usually is extended for a 6-month period, but I would be able to receive it for 12 months. DING! DING! DING! All the bells were clanging. If these levels were available, why weren’t they offered and explained at the outset instead of waiting for me to decline each membership and offering memberships at lower prices.

    I searched for the organization on the Better Business Bureau website, but there was nothing. Then I found this information and rejoiced that I had not given “Leslie” any credit card info. Thanks for providing this venue for exposing disreputable organizations and warning those of us who are the targets for these snakes.

  23. Just for your information, they are listed in the Better Business Bureau and have had almost 300 complaints. And they have only been around since 2007!! Not a good track record. Like you, I didn’t fall for the scripted sell. What a crock!!!

  24. I fell for it :( I just graduated college in may and thought it would be great to be a part of something like this. After having my card charged for woman of the year today I’m in 1300 dollars and feel upset and angry.

  25. Thank you for this update. They have been calling constantly to answer a few questions to complete my profile and I am not interested in spending money on a scam.

  26. I was taken with the same scam- paid $200 for a low level membership. Next thing you know, I am getting phone calls telling me I have been chosen as their Professional Business Woman of the year…offering me all of these perks- which usually cost $3000, but for me- a mere $1000 and can they go ahead and charge the Amex card they had on file for me. I was taken aback- what a scam. I did not authorize the charge- thank God we no longer use that card or I am sure they would have charged me. Do not get suckered into this – they use flattery and then go for the kill!

  27. I too fell for this scam a year ago! Unfortunately I didn’t know better and paid for the $789 membership level and was told annual renewals were $100. Today I check my credit card bill and found a renewal charge for another $789!! When I logged into the NAPW web site I noticed a new set of Terms and Conditions (which I did not accept) which state that renewals will be processed automatically each year and at the level of the existing membership. What a complete rip off! I wish I’d seen this blog before I wasted my money. I’ve since sent an e-mail to their renewal address demanding an immediate refund, filed a complaint with my credit card company, and also filed a complaint with the New York Better Business Bureau. Everyone that feels ripped off should also file a complaint with the BBB. This needs to stop.

  28. As soon as she said they could ONLY process payments over the phone and would not send me an invoice or even an email with additional information so I could think about the benefits of the program and speak with my boss about potentially getting my company to pay for the membership (they have supported my membership with other professional organizations), I told her that’s not how business is conducted these days and I didn’t want to be involved. Any sales professional from any company I’ve ever done business with has wanted to bend over backward to get me more information about benefits, help sell it to my boss, etc. These guys just want to drop the price. I told her I’m not interested in doing business that way and that concludes our conversation. THEN she tried to pressure me by saying “that’s a shame because I just spoke with someone earlier this week who’s in a similar field”. Luckily she also called my field “you know, with computers and healthcare and stuff” so bullshit meter is way off the scales at this point. What a joke. I am now looking for a REAL professional women’s organization. Women In Technology might do nicely. Researching now.

  29. I got scammed. Was told the fee charged was a lifetime membership fee. I recently complained to the BBB (rating is an F and they are not BBB accredited)…note their ad says they are an “A”. I also sent a complaint to Linked In. All women should be protected! NAPW was started by a man…the same guy of Who’s Who. He is only interested in one thing and that is money. He is not interested in empowering women. Maybe we should start a FREE site and get everyone to drop their NAPW memberships. We may even have a great class action suit. The universe will take care of this scammer but we also need to fight for ourselves.

  30. I got scammed back in October, but ended up paying for the ‘trial membership of 6 months for $99 + 6 months free, after I kept declining the memberships that started at the $999 range and kept on coming down. Just got a call to tell me I was voted national woman of the year even though I’ve barealy logged to the website and not attended any event… I nodded along until I was told that they would charge me $980 for the privilege, and it was a special one time offer… I really wish I had read the above before I gave them my details. Now I see that they also ‘renew’ the membership without permission, so I will definitely be taking preemptive actions! Biggest scam I’ve encountered in a while, and all the most dangerous for actually looking legitimate!

  31. Whew! She almost had me! Then I started reading this blog to her and she got super nervous and hung up on me! Thanks ladies! Saved my buns!

  32. I wasn’t fortunate enough to have been given a “heads up” about this company, and they got me for over $700. I had the same experience, though, when I was surprisingly selected as one of their NAPW members of the year last year. Went through the interview process that lasted almost 30 minutes. But then…it hit me. All I had to do was pay $99 for the award and the plaque stating such. Wait…what? I have to pay to be awarded? No thanks. My membership was up for renewal this past May and I got an e-mail stating it was going to be automatically renewed. I called immediately and told them I didn’t want my membership renewed. I also made them send me an e-mail confirming my cancellation, which I finally received after a few more phone calls. What’s funny is this membership for women is headed up by men.

  33. Same here, I got scammed by them last January. I just got a notice that “membership terms have changed” and I was about to be rebilled. When I joined in Jan 2013, I was told the higher membership fee was a one time amount and that the additional years would be free. I was shocked when I called them today and was told that I was about to be charged $789.00 for renewal because their terms have changed. I told them that I was told the additional years were free because I paid so much up front. She said, since you were told that I can renew you at $99 for one additional year as a courtesy. I told her no thanks,cancel me completely as I have received zero in value from this so called membership.

  34. Thanks for the post! My phone just rang with the 866-540-6279 number and I decided to screen instead of answer, and google brought me here. Not sure if I would have ended up paying or not, but I’m glad I don’t have to think about it now! There’s got to be some way to take this organization down!

  35. Thanks for the post. The same thing happened to me. I saw it on LinkedIn and it said free membership. It seemed like a great thing to do in order to network with other professional women. They called me all the time and the one time I was free to answer the phone, they went through the 15 minute speech and test. Then, I was congratulated for being accepted. Once she told me of the $900 plan and then the $700 plan, I hung up. I’ve been feeling bad about hanging up ever since. I thought I was the one who had misunderstood the “free” aspect”. I’m so glad I found this post and all the comments on it. This validates my first reaction and never again will I second guess myself.

  36. Thanks to you, and my additional search to see if I hear her correctly on the phone. (I was hoping she said 90 dollars or 70 something) Then I see your almost identical phone call about my own screening on the phone and which credit card I would be using today… Well, I will be declining and tell her why tomorrow. ( I told her that I didn’t carry my credit cards with me!) I thank you very much!!! Lisa, also a very professional women even without a National Association

  37. I got scammed too. Last January I got a call, similar to all of your, felt good that I was selected for membership. I paid the $700, which I thought was a lifetime membership. I could never get ahold of any of the chapter presidents to attend a meeting. I never got to attend any of the on-line seminars. When I got an email that my membership was being renewed, I responded that I had a lifetime membership. They called today to say that they would extend my membership for one more year at no cost. I’ve learned a lesson to check out organizations before joining. I agree we should start our own women’s organization. I am completing my dissertation for my Doctorate in Business. My dissertation is on mentoring women and I thought joining the NAPW would really help me – NOT!! Thanks for the post.

  38. Let me also add my thanks for your post, as I went through the whole rigamarole as well. I was honest in saying I didn’t have the money for the $99 trial membership right now, but invited her to call me back next week when I would have more funds available. I was seriously going to go ahead with it, but the red flags did nag at me (particularly the high pressure, script reading and blocked phone number) which led me to do a little more research, and voila! Your posting.

  39. This exact thing happened to me today! I can’t believe their ad hasn’t been taken off LinkedIn. That’s the only reason I thought it was reputable! As soon as “Kimberly Bradford” started pressuring me for my credit card info and trying to convince me that it was much safer to provide my information over the phone rather than by a secured website, I got suspicious and hung up. Thank you for your post! Glad I trusted my gut. Not glad I wasted 30 minutes on the phone with this lady!

  40. Wow! I wished I had read your blog before I signed up for the $99 trial membership. More and more I’m learning not to trust anyone for any reason! I don’t remember her name but she came across as a geniune businesswoman! Not a scam artist! It is outrageous how they can use Star Jones’ name to entice hard working women out of their money. I subscribed back in Nov ’13 so I suppose I better try to get at least $99 worth of some valuable information out of them.

  41. Thank you very much for saving me returning a call to this number. It has shown up on my missed calls list several times and I wanted to know who it was before I called it back so I looked up the phone number and found this scam message. I too have seen this group heavily advertised on LINKED IN and thought about asking to join but that will not happen now thanks to your warning. It is very much appreciated. I will be blocking that phone number after I get done here. You are a life saver. I can ‘t say thanks enough.

  42. Hi there,

    I just saw this on LinkedIn as well, so I applied for membership. I just got off the phone with Pamela, and she attempted to sell me several different memberships. I told her that I simply cannot afford to pay, and she said she’d start me out with a complimentary membership and that I could upgrade at any time. I’m glad I’ve done more research, the call didn’t feel right. I advise to not get suckered in. There are many great networking communities that are FREE. Don’t pay for anything like this, ever.

  43. Any time a membership for an organization starts at “Elite for only $900”, drops to “$700 for basic”, then goes to “$489 for Standard” then to a “$99 6-month trial membership” they’ll offer for a year and finally to a “free Introductory membership” that’s their electronic newsletter only… buyer beware! They even have a MAWP Section in my city!! But when I asked for a name of someone to call for a recommendation, that wasn’t available. I did spend 16-20 minutes on the phone, but it was a great lesson on detecting BS – I think I graduated with an A-!

  44. This has been ongoing for QUITE some time. I received an invitation last year (Jan 1013) – had filled it out but never got around to mailing it with the MONEY). Saw an ad on Linked in recently (this past week) so I entered my information. I got their phone call today – first time the number would not show (showed incoming call only). The second call from them showed (866) 540-6279 and came immediately after the first. I

    My son answered the second call so I took the call. EXACT same script as shown above. Somehow our call was cut off BEFORE I had given ANY credit card information. (THANK YOU powers that be!).

    We ALL need to contact 1) Linked In 2) State Attorney General (for our individual states) 3) The Better Business Bureau and report these fraudsters!!!

    THEN, send a note with the link to THIS blog to ALL of our friends! We can STOP others from getting sucked into this SCAM!

    BTW – I am contacting Linked in and my state’s AG as soon as I finish posting this!

    There are OTHER reputable WOMEN’S organizations (American Association of University Women) that are NON PROFIT!

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