Protecting your professional reputation: part 2

As discussed in our previous article on this subject, a simple business disagreement or rivalry has the potential to ruin an entrepreneur's reputation throughout the state of Missouri. It could even land an individual in jail, were he or she to be convicted of a crime.

Depending on the business, the quality of a professional reputation could either prevent growth or generate new connections. While there are several ways in which unethical competition might take form, such as crafting negative reviews online or spreading specious rumors, there are two in particular that could lead a business or a professional into the realm of litigation or other serious consequences. Both have to do with fraud reporting.

The first of these is accomplished through filling complaints with professional organizations or watchdog groups. These include local commercial alliances as well as national consumer protection networks, perhaps the most prominent of which is the Better Business Bureau. The BBB allows anyone to provide information on suspicious behavior through its online scam reporting system, making this a potential risk for businesses that are reported.

The Office of the Missouri Attorney General also provides a way for consumers to report fraudulent acts online. Since this method requires a good deal of interaction with legal authorities, it is unlikely that any accuser would use it without some sort of backing to the claim. However, that does not preclude someone from exaggerating evidence or misreporting details in order to sabotage a rival business. 

Businesses reported through the Attorney General's system might be subject to investigation, prosecution or mediation. Some of these alternatives might leave a public record of criminal acts. Therefore, any accusations made through official channels should be taken seriously by the accused.

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