Businesswomen Beware: How I Fell Prey To Unsavory Sales Techniques Targeting Professional Women. MY story.

Me & My Ego

A few months back, a respected colleague of mine put me in touch with The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) in hopes that I could do some public speaking for them at an upcoming conference.

The woman who called me from NAPW was very warm and complimentary, and did an extremely in-depth interview (about 30 minutes), after which she congratulated me and let me know that due to my “impressive resume and accomplishments,” not only would they consider me as a speaker, but they would also be offering me a complimentary membership in the organization!! I accepted it, gave her all my information and promptly forgot about the whole thing.

A few months later, I got a call from another very nice woman with whom I had another nice long conversation about what I was up to and my recent accomplishments. Towards the end of the call, she tried to sell me a membership to the NAPW.

I reminded her that I’d been extended a complimentary membership because they were considering me as a potential speaker for their organization. She was very confused and apologized. I was busy, so I quickly got off the phone telling her it was no problem and we ended the call very politely. I didn’t think of it again until today.

Today I received another NAPW call (incidentally, from a blocked number). This time the lovely woman on the other line warmly informed that I was selected to be featured in their spotlight of their newsletter, and they asked me to share what my recent accomplishments have been so they could include them! I was honored and delighted and told her all about what I was up to. We spent about 10 minutes on this, me doing most of the talking.

Then she said that she had even more good news for me, that they were pleased to offer me free workshops and seminars in my area after having partnered with the National Seminar Company. It looked good and I was looking forward to checking out some of the programs.

Then she told me she had even MORE good news! I had been nominated for and selected to win the “Woman of the Year” award for my category (business education) in Florida! At this point I remember sensing that she was reading from a script (whenever I’d interrupt or ask a question she would answer then go back a few words in her script and start over.) I didn’t think much of it, though, she was lovely and kept stroking my ego, so I’m embarassed to say, I ate it up.

“Wow!” I said, “that’s amazing, thank you so much!!” At this point we had spent about 15 minutes on the phone. By the way, she added, in honor of my achievement, they were going to send me a NAPW certification that I could attach to my bio and load up on my website, as well as a mahogany-framed certificate to hang up and attest to this momentous honor!

At this point, I was beyond touched and thanked her even MORE profusely. It was at this point that the lovely woman, reading from her lovely script, informed me that there was a price to “reserve your spot” as woman of the year….

For only $995.

Come again? At this point, I was thrown off guard. I had developed rapport with this woman (read: she had stroked my ego for 15 minutes and encouraged me tell her all about my accomplishments), so I was not sure I understood correctly. So I asked her: “Are you saying that I have to PAY for this award?”

“Oh no, absolutely not Ms. Vilabos [sic]! This fee is simply to reserve your spot as an NAPW woman of the year.”

“If you’re saying I need to pay $995 in order to receive the award, then I’m not interested and quite frankly, I’m not happy about being called and kept on the phone for this long for you to sell me an award.”

“Well, I can understand how you might get that impression, but that’s not it at all! In fact, here’s what I can do, I can make an exception for you and just this one time…”
Now I was getting angry. “You just spent 15 minutes on the phone with me, telling me about this award that I won, and telling me about all the things you were going to ‘give’ me, and now you’re telling me that it’s going to cost me $1000. This is the 2nd call I’ve received trying to ‘upsell’ me other things after having been ‘awarded’ a complimentary membership. Can you see how this might be construed?”

“No no. You’re not understanding how this works. Are you familiar with the Hollywood Boulevard stars on the sidewalk?” [Still reading from a script by the way, she must’ve had to jump ahead to “overcoming objections” page…]

“Yes, of course.”

“Well this is like that. There is a board that nominates the candidates, then votes for the winner, but then the celebrity that wins must pay $25,000 to get their star. Well, this isn’t Hollywood, but the process is very similar.”

I went on to express my dismay and displeasure at having 1) been manipulated and 2) my time wasted. The lovely lady quickly turned not-so-lovely and informed me that “just so you know, I WAS going to offer this to you for a special rate of $495.” She went on to add that “it’s just as well,” because they had “plenty of other ‘honorees'” [read: suckers] on their list, and that they would simply go to the next name.

I was so insulted, and so upset that an organization allowed to call itself the “National Association of Professional Women” would STOOP to this behavior, that I looked it up online.

Guess what? I’m not the first or the only to have experienced this. In fact, there are several complaints against NAPW, as well as OTHER organizations that do the same thing! In fact, I discovered that this was not the first time my ego had been seduced. It brought to mind another situation that happened even before the NAPW.

I received a call (referred to me by the same person, by the way) from NAPEW (National Organization of Professional and Executive Women). Same scenario, although I’m embarrassed to say that when they called me (long before the NAPW did), they were able to sucker me out of $199. I’m fuming now that I understand how this REALLY works. Another organization with a similar model, owned by the same people by the way, is “Cambridge Who’s Who.”

And if you’re curious if I actually received any benefit from this? No. No exposure (not even a google search result for my name linked with NAPEW or National Association of Professional and Executive Women). Although when I complained to the person who referred me, I received a package in the mail with a certificate and bio that basically regurgitated my own online bio, though with typos and misspellings throughout.

FYI – these people are BRILLIANT. They use all the tools that work with women. First off, they LISTEN and let you talk as much as you want to. They are masters at getting you to open up and share. Furthermore, they know exactly which buttons to press (I’m an expert at reading personality types, they’re clearly better).

Not only are they brilliant on the phone, it seems they’re also successful at online reputation management. While TONS of search results exist for complaints, a large percentage of the links are broken or have been emptied/cleaned out. Check for yourself. I’m guessing that these “empowering organizations” spend a decent amount of (ill-gotten) funds hiring online reputation cleaners and lawyers. Update: I have been contacted by bloggers around the country who have been threatened with lawsuits and/or offered monetary compensation in order to take down their posts. I have also been contacted by lawyers and received several letters for this post, from which I have had to remove information that I wish you could read. 

Here is just SOME of what else I found:

Disclaimer alert!
1. I found NO evidence that ANY of what these organizations do is illegal in ANY way.
2. In fact, these are COMMON sales tactics that all sorts of “who’s who” and professional organizations engage in.
3. Neither #1 or #2 make it right in my personal opinion.

What do you think? Or do you have a similar story to share? Have YOU been the “recipient” of a bogus “award” or “honor”? Or unsavory sales techniques by a women’s organization or professional organization? I want to hear all about it.

Ciao for now,

Michelle Villalobos (veeyaLOWbos)

533 thoughts on “Businesswomen Beware: How I Fell Prey To Unsavory Sales Techniques Targeting Professional Women. MY story.

  1. That is so sukky. I guess this denotes a bit of reverse prejudice on my part but dammit I just don’t expect women to treat other women like that! They might as well be … welll… MEN! lol

    Thanks for having the guts to share, it must have been painful, btu you done good. Now the rest of us will know to just hang up on them!

    • Just wanted to say when I called them back this summer, I got to speak to the man in accounting who REFUNDED my money!! I was very shocked but satisfied.

      • Ladies, I am having the same issue. Got a text from my credit card company that $795 was charged to me today from NAPW. My employer paid for my membership 2 years ago, last year the renewal was $100. This year $795! I left my employer and now this would be my expense. I have left them voicemails, email, facebook message. How can women do this to women!! I may need advice from those of you that were able to get refunds.

      • If you guys listen carefully then you wouldn’t have complaints they lay everything out on the table for you so you already know what you are getting yourself into. The organization is not a scam. It’s more than legit. If it wasn’t legit Star Jones wouldn’t be out spokesperson or newly appointed President. Yeah the founder is a man but it wasn’t for the money it was to help women expand. You guys may think it’s a scam but our 600,000 members are taking advantage of thier membership. You guys can screenshot whatever this company is legit. You will just be wasting your time. PAY ATTENTION!!!!

      • “The organization is not a scam.”

        Then why do you feel the need to post this anonymously?? Apparently the NAPW has their trolls set up in this comment section. Bahaha!

      • How were you able to speak to someone in accounting, I can’t even get anyone to speak with let alone reply?

    • I too have recently been duped by the NAPW. I did initially join the organization for $100. Not only did they call me numerous times with all these “wonderful” accolades and go through the whole conversation, but unlawfully charged my American Express for the Legacy Book. I never authorized this charge and specifically told them I was not interested. When calling their offices I only get voice mail: no response to messages, emails, faxes. I have filed complaints with the better Business Bureau, American Express, The NYS Attorney General Office and the US Dept of Consumer Affairs fraud division
      I encourage EVERYONE and ANYONE dealing with them to do the same.

      • Has anyone had true success getting their money back from this organization; both intial membership fee and unauthorized auto-withdrawls? Please share your advice on how to begin that process and how it worked! Many thanks!

      • Yes
        I got all my money back
        In writing I told them I filed a complaint withh the Better Business bureau , NYS attorney general and U S public service commission
        The NAPW is owned by a man!!!
        Miraculously 15 mins after I left the VM message and sent emails all my money was refunded!

      • yes–I had all the charges ($1200) refunded. If you can backtrack a couple months on this conversation I included lots of details there. It can absolutely be done–they don’t want people going public with this. Though of course we all SHOULD go public!

      • I’m currently going through the same thing. They refunded $99 of the $199 they took out of my account without my authorization and I’m waiting for the remaining to be refunded. If I don’t hear back from them in 5 days, I’m going to the media and request an investigation.

      • I’m an employee here and a member. all of these accusations are false. Its sad all these rumors are flying around.

      • “I’m an employee here and a member. all of these accusations are false. Its sad all these rumors are flying around.” – ari

        Ari – I’m sure that the organization’s intentions are good but to suggest that THIS MANY women having almost identical experiences are all lying is a bit absurd. They’re not rumors either – these instances actually happened to each and every one of us.

        Perhaps the organization should take this feedback and make some positive changes instead of earning their revenue through predatory practices.

      • It’s not that anyone’s lying. at that no one took the time out to look through our website. Nothing good is free. Let’s use common sense. Your trying to expand in your venture and his membership can help you with that. There are soo many benefits from NAPW. Why don’t u think your worth 989? I did it. And my biz is expanding as we speak. It’s not that y’all are lying it’s that your exaggerating he truth

      • Looks like NAPW has gotten one of their own to troll this site, too:
        on June 16, 2014 at 8:38 pm said:
        You have to listen to the person your on the phone with u pay for the member ship and u pay for your profile set up fee. The profile set up few is charged a few days later than your membership charge and if u listen carefully that’s non refundable I’m an employee and member

        Thank you for your comment, “Anonymous.”
        You have just stated, in writing, your employer’s fraudulent practice.
        I suppose that you will delete your comment. That’s OK, I have a screen shot AND reposted your comment into a different comment’s reply for safe-keeping.

      • Nicely done ladies. Way to circle the wagons. NAPWs sales tactics are crummy at BEST and they should answer to that — and not by sending an anonymous poster to write a poorly thought out “defense,” but by CHANGING those tactics and adding some integrity! I appreciate all you do to keep this conversation alive!!!

      • Help, I just got scammed into it. I got this org confused with another one (got the names mixed up) that is way more respectable and affordable. They had me sign up for the 489 deal. My card has not yet been charged, though, and I’m afraid they might start using it illegally. What do I do???

      • I just got off the phone with them too!. Wow, am I glad I didn’t provide my fast-talking interviewer with a credit card number! I became a target after expressing interest in the NAPW on LinkedIn…had no idea that by meeting their “stringent qualifications” I’d have to fork overt $989!! Am grateful to this site for assuring me that I haven’t let a legit & worthwhile opportunity pass.

      • I guess I should have read the reviews before I signed up! I just got off of the phone with them and signed up for the $99 trial membership. I will be monitoring my credit card statement closely to ensure they don’t charge anything else. Also I’ll probably report this card lost so that this credit card number will no longer work if they try to charge me for something else. Thanks for the feedback everyone!! Even though I may have lost $100, I’ll take steps to ensure that I don’t lose any more money to them!

    • I just got of the phone with them as well. My experience was pretty close to the OP’s. When she told me the cost involved, I told her she was exploiting women. I asked her if she worked for an association that represents only men; she said it didn’t exist. She cut the cost to $495, designed for non-profits. She tried to tell me “making one contact in our network will pay for the membership because I’d be talking to some of the most influential women in the nation.” She kept talking, but I hung up when she got too aggressive.

      • I had the same phone call last week. Started at $995 and worked its way all the way down to $99 with plenty of but, but ,but arguments to get me to pay anything. REALLY sad to see how they try to manipulate Women…anyone male or female. Luckily I am smart enough to decline.

    • Thank you for the info I just receive a letter in the mail from them yesterday ,one thing I have learn don’t you ever give money to any one ,once you hear the word money red flag mean no.

    • Wow! I received a call a few weeks ago and just went on line to see what they were all about and this is what i found, YIKES!!! They “accepted” me, and offered the membership at only $995. When I informed them that I was not going to ask my employer to pay for this, they lowered the price 3 more times eventually accepting me as a complimentary member. Red flag! How is it that they needed to charge me $995 and now it is free? Hence, the reason i went online to look them up. Thank you for your blog!!

    • I am so happy I trusted my ‘gut’ and didn’t give them any of my credit card information, although I may have if I actually had a credit card on me (I leave them home in order to avoid splurges). It felt like an actual interview and talking about my accomplishments made me feel fantastic, I was actually being acknowledged for them. Then she immediately went into their elite package, describing all that it offers, then said the price, almost $1000 (of course this was after they got me so ‘high’ on my acceptance), I was immediately deflated. Then she offered me the introductory package for $199. Women exploiting other women, especially women in a professional capacity is just so wrong. Women in the professional world have a hard enough time as it is, why would they do that?! UGH! I will be calling this woman back and telling her that I did some research and found some very distasteful reviews. Can’t wait to see what she has to say about that!

    • Thank you for posting this info for me . I am so happy I read this before I spent the money. thanks again. Women have to look out for each other.

    • Hi Ladies, I also got conned. Same pitch as you all describe. Starting out with almost $1000, down to $199. They certainly are at the top of their class in sales pitches – I didn’t even realize I was getting conned until I hung up (having given them my credit card #). I immediately tried to call them back to cancel, and of course the name and direct number the “sales” (really con artist) person gave me doesn’t go through. Then I started reading this blog and really panicked, thinking they are going to use my credit card for who knows what. I finally called billing and spent 15 minutes arguing with her as to why I want to cancel. She had the balls to tell me that I don’t seem to understand that their time to talk to me costs money! I almost told her where to jump off, when she finally agreed to cancel. Hopefully I don’t see trips to the Bahamas on my credit card. This should be brought to the attention of the media. I just might call one of the news channels……Many thanks for this blog!!!!!

      • replying to the “someone should bring this to the attention of the media” comment: YES, YES! I’ve mentioned it to a TV producer I know, and I’ve also emailed LinkedIn about it since they feature prominent ads for this org. This would make a GREAT piece of investigative journalism–if any of you know someone prominent, please let them know. They’d thank you for the lead–and we’d ALL thank you for your good deed!!

      • as a follow up on behalf of all you ladies who either did get scammed, or stopped short of it, here is what I wrote to LinkedIn today. If I can find out how to expose them further, Here is what I wrote to them:

        “I am writing to you as others have in the past, about the unscrupulous sales tactics of the NAPW (National Assn for Professional Women). I completed their form yesterday with the expectation of getting web access to seminars, career information, and the ability to network with other professional women. Since they are advertisers at LinkedIn, I didn’t give it the slightest thought that they may have very questionable sales tactics with the main goal of grabbing insane membership fees out of people. Within a day of completing the form, I received a call from them (from a blocked number), spent 20 minute on the phone with a savvy sales lady who was so “warm and friendly” and stroked my professional ego for 15 minutes, followed by a request for close to $1000 to receive a premium membership. When I told her I was not expecting that, she dropped it to $495, and when my answer still was no, she high sales pressured me into give her my credit card # for a $199 annual fee. When I asked her if I could think about it and then get back to her, she said no, it has to be done on the phone now. She then told me I would receive a framed plaque with my name on it as a member – for an additional $99 – which I refused. As soon as I hung up the phone, I started researching the organization, only to find that hundreds (probably more) of women like me had also been scammed like this. I am in the process of attempting to cancel and get my money refunded – we will see how that works out. Their billing department was not so warm and friendly, and was downright condescending and obnoxious.

        My purpose for this email is to request, on behalf of hundreds of others, that you not allow this organization to advertise on LinkedIn, which is viewed by millions as one of the most respected means of professional communication worldwide. You are doing LinkedIn a disservice by continuing to allow scammers to advertise with you.

        The NAPW has an “F” rating with the BBB, and are no better than the folks who used to steal and sell cell phone numbers in the old days, only they are polite and professional about it!”

        I hope, at minimum, that LinkedIn listens. It’s dismaying that they are advertising thru Forbes also.

    • You have to listen to the person your on the phone with u pay for the member ship and u pay for your profile set up fee. The profile set up few is charged a few days later than your membership charge and if u listen carefully that’s non refundable I’m an employee and member

      • Thank you for your comment, “Anonymous.”
        You have just stated, in writing, your employer’s fraudulent practice when you stated on June 16, 2014 at 8:38 pm:
        “The profile set up fe[e] is charged a few days later than your membership charge and if u listen carefully that’s non refundable I’m an employee and member”
        I am in the media and, as it happens, am doing research right now for an article on professional networking fraud targeted at women.
        I suppose that you will delete your comment. That’s OK, I have a screen shot.

    • I received a letter from them at my job site a little over a week ago. In bold letters across the back of their reply card it is written: There is no cost or obligation to be included. I thought this was cool and completed their on line application. This week I received a telephone call from their organization. She gave me their spiel, then came the bottom line, I could join their “elite” group for $900 something dollars, or the one next down for $700 something dollars and this would include all of this stuff, an invitation to their annual seminar, etc, etc…I was in sticker shock – but your invitation said there is no cost or obligation to be included. She blabbed something about facebook or link or something of that sort. I informed her that I am one of those few people who do not do ANY type of social media; not interested in putting my personal life out for everyone to read about; others may do this as much as they want, it is just not my thing. So I got to thinking and decided that I wanted to warn people – DO NOT BE FOOLED – THERE IS A BIG COST TO JOINING THIS GROUP.

    • Thank you so much for your post. You’ve saved me from a big headache. I received a complimentary invitation to join this organization last week but wanted to learn a little about them before accepting. I’m so glad you shared your experience!

      • Dear Beautiful Women,

        Thank you for posting about this. I felt so frustrated after this 30 min phone interview followed by a nice try to sell me an Elite membership $989 . They even told me that they have recruited Sheryl Sandberg into their team. I didn’t see any such news on their website. Ligit or not, this is a scam! This is no way of selling your membership. If NAPW is proud of itself, send details about the memberships in advance, let people try it out and then try to sell the memberships. Yes, people say nothing is for free. But I have been using LinkedIn for free for the past 8 years and have benefitted immensely from the networking through it. I get offers of free trial premium membership for a month, I try it and then can choose to not continue it. Thats the professional way of getting members to pay for a membership. NAPW can learn a lot from LinkedIn

    • If you are ever contacted by Covington Who’s Who, Sterling Registry, or WorldWide Who’s Who, expect the same thing. They stroke your ego, and “give” you awards and it will only cost you $xx amount of dollars.

  2. Charmaine, thanks for your comment. Though the people on the phone were women, apparently (from what I can gather), the owner of the company is a man. That said, women do often treat other women badly. This is an unfortunate truth 😦

    Michelle Villalobos

    • I have one for you I got the same letter today. All I could do is laugh.. I happen to be a male.. So I guess they didn’t do there

      • They are still at it…just got off a 15 minute phone call with an older sounding woman who was very deft at making it sound like she needed to approve of me, but after a few minutes “realized how accomplished” I was and invited me to join the “group” of successful women… I fell for it right up until I realized she was trying to get my credit card for a $989 membership, which I could have for just $489 if I agreed right away. When I asked to consider the offer and read more online about the organization, she lowered the price of entry even more, but on the condition that I accept on the day the invitation was offered. I promptly hung up, realizing I had almost been HAD.

    • Omg ! I received the same call from a woman with a British accent she was so nice from NAPW.. My membership to join went from a $1000 to a special offer of only 99.00 to join without all the special benefits.. As soon as I said no I can’t afford it, and I would have to decline joining she got mad and told me I was making a mistake by not joining. She went on and said she will still send me a com plenary membership. I never got anything….I knew then that it was only for money.. LinkedIn works for my business. Thanks for sharing….jessi

      • Exact same scenario just happened with me! She went from 989 to 789 to 489 to 99 to complimentary. Pros at stroking the ego; although she claimed that when she paused and I tried to say no, I interrupted her and for that I should pay for being rude instead of having my membership she so graciously awarded me revoked. SCAM ARTISTS! BUYERS BEWARE!!

      • Hi, same thing here. 20-30 minute phone call and at the end of all that wanted me to join for $1000 a year. I did manage to get down to $100 and told her I was driving and needed to discuss with my husband before I spent that kind of money. I would never agree to spending that kind of money and give my credit card to someone over the phone without time to think about, research it, and discuss with someone like spouse or friend.

      • Check this out: ya know how the Better Business Bureau has their trademark blue “BBB” logo on everything Better Business Bureau? On the bottom of the spam email I received from these creeps this last time had some sort of black & white Better Business Bureau graphic attached with some other so-called endorsement graphics! If you go to the BBB web site to check out these rip off scam artists & check out all of the complaints about them, the irony will knock you over! Make sure to report them to the BBB. It’s absurd that these charletains are still out there pulling this crap…

      • I just finished speaking with them, too. I just started my business, and NO WAY am I going to pay a thousand dollars for a membership to anything! When she said 995, all I could think was $9.95. There’s no way it could actually be nine hundred, ninety-five!…but yes. I politely told her no about four times, with each time being a drop in the rate, and benefits, of course. Thankfully, she never dished out any rude comments though, so plus for them.

      • I just got the hard sales tactic also. I was so frustrated — I was getting angry toward the end. I was like, look, sales are slow now and if I were to even consider the “99” it makes no difference what you say I can not pay a thing until I get my veteran disability on the first. So hard to get her off the phone I was just getting angrier and angrier. Sigh. I looked it up online and ripoff report apparently have them a recent good rating but then digging deeper I found this blog. Thanks so much!!

      • I’m embarrassed to say they got me for about $1100, for a VIP package. I checked them out, I thought. Looked at the BBB rating, and the many bio’s online. They even have a group that meets locally, although I have not attended. They are still calling, but I no longer take their calls, after I turned down the hard sell for some additional package. Not sure what I will do next.

  3. Wow! Amazing how these shysters work. Great investigative reporting, Michelle. “The National Association of Professional Women” — imagine how much good a real organization with a pure purpose could do… they could hold conferences (and rent booths to exhibitors), publish a magazine (and sell the ad space), do free seminars (with corporate sponsors)… at the end of the day, it’s just as easy to make an honest buck. Some people sleep better at night than others. Stay strong, ladies!

  4. Hey Michelle,

    I’ve heard of this group. In fact they sent me a complimentary membership invitation by mail when I first started out. I filled out all the info and sent it in and then I got the call for money. I was just starting out and didn’t have any money for memberships so the relationship soon ended. But I know how you feel. And I love the way you dealt with your disappointment! I’m sharing this for sure!!


  5. Hey Michelle,
    Thanks for this article! I got an invitation in the mail yesterday and wasn’t sure what the heck this was. Thanks for shining the light on the subject. I appreciate you saving me a lot of time.

  6. Thanks for having the courage and humility to write this. Many of my clients, friends, and colleagues suffer at the hands of similar scams.

    I think the best defense against them is for strong, successful individuals to be candid about their own experiences.

    Thanks for that.

  7. I also received a letter a few months ago and sent it in as my “initial” web research did not turn up anything negative. I got the phone call today and it was pretty much the same as everyone else’s. This person must have been relatively new because when I declined the offered 600+ and 400+ memberships, she let out a huge sigh and struggled to respond. Finally, she asked the question “don’t you know who we are”? I said yes but I think I needed to do more research before making a commitment. She then kept lowering the price until I finally hung up……then did more research and I feel good that I did not take the bait!! I would like to find a legitimate organization for professional women though.

  8. Wow… I just got this in the mail today…What a load of crap!
    I was really going to join b/c i love organizations that let you network but…not this one.

  9. Michelle – I’m glad you posted this! I was just on the phone with a woman from NAPW – same exact convo as you describe, up to and including the “Woman of the Year” award – and then out comes the “we need $995 from you.” I had been researching NAPW while on the phone with her (awards, recognition, newsletters etc) but then when she asked for payment I started looking for reviews/alerts about them.

    I came across your article right away, and found it to be very helpful. I promptly told the woman I was not interested in any membership with them (repeated it loudly several times) and as she kept babbling – “Shannon, you are making a huge mistake” and so on – I happily hung up.

    These guys are SNEAKY! And the woman turned quite mean once I started saying “not interested.” Some days I wish I could physically reach through a phone and slap the person on the other end. 🙂

    Thanks so much for your article!

  10. I am so glad you posted this. I must say they did contact me about a year ago, but I cut them off quickly (i can detect a script when i hear, worked for a telemarketing company when I was in collage). I asked her to stop reading for the script, that she was wasting my time and that to place me on the do not call list. She was very upset and told me a I was missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime. I just laughed and hung up on them.

  11. Michelle, i wished i had seen this post a few months ago. I felt like really was special at time, i did work it down to the $495 but still, i lost $500, then they called me back this week to tell me about the Who Who of NAPW. and you only have to pay another 200 for that, of course that answer was NO!!! and the called ended quickly after I explained they never followed thru on anything else they have promised.

  12. Michelle! I got here from this other site and i read this and the irony! Out of the blue a few years back I got a glass plaque from these people, who I HAVE never spoken to.

    I always wondered what the deal was and alas… here it is.

    I hate to think of the women they have taken advantage of.

  13. I just got off the phone with Sabrina @ NAPW. I remember receiving the invitation and mailing it back in and just like your conversation, she was an expert at stroking my ego. It worked. I bit and bit hard. We went through all the interview and then came the part about charging me almost $700 to obtain their exclusive membership. My red flags started raising and by the time she’d lowered it down to $200 ($189) they were waving wildly for all the world to see! I’m so glad I found your story – now I know I did the right thing. I did get her talked down to about $89 but I was still not going to pay for something that seemed extremely fishy. It’s terrible that this type of con-artistry is not illegal. With all that being said, I’m kind of bummed that she didn’t offer me the Woman of the Year award….dang it!

  14. Sigh. I fell for this as well. I had just started my consulting business and jumped at the chance to network with other professional women. Of course, I never received anything useful from them, including my sign up package for their newsletter profile. My emails were unanswered until suddenly I received a call saying I was a Woman of the Year and blah blah and could I please confirm the credit card on file. Does anyone know of a reputable, genuine organization for professional networking?

  15. WOW!! I JUST got off the phone with “Dorothy!” Throughout the call, I kept trying to determine exactly how much the “membership fee” was going to be for all of the wonderful benefits they were going to offer. I tried to get that information prior, but of course, I had to go through the entire interview first. When it was finally over and she started running down the prices, which included various additional “one-time” fees (yes, in addition to the $500-700 cost associated with membership!), I told her that I didn’t have my credit card on me in order to avoid the high pressure sales pitch and to take an opportunity to do more research! That’s a lot of money! I wanted to see if the benefits are truly as worthwhile as they promote. I m definitely glad I found this site! Not only, does it seem to simple be a way to hustle money from women, but there don’t even seem to be any legitimate redeemig factors, i.e. good, meaningful events. I will NOT be joining!! Thanks, ladies!!
    PS – Maybe we should all join together and start our own, legitimate group for professional women!

    • Shay, I think you have the right idea… we should all start an organization that empowers and recognizes accomplishments without all the smoke and mirrors.

  16. Another victim here….I immediately became skeptical & was laughing with amazement thru the salesperson’s pitch about paying for being profiled. But I was stupid & fell for it, but only to the point of the basic $98 membership, which they wasted no time taking out of my bank account. Two days later, I noticed another charge on my account for $49. When I emailed customer service about the charge, I did receive a call back, stating that the original conversation was recorded & that I could not recind my membership. I said, ok, I want to hear the full recording, because I don’t recall the additional charge being discussed. I was put on hold for a few minutes, and low & behold, they came back & decided to give me a refund AND drop me down to their “lowest” membership level reserved for retirees, to $29.95…we’ll see if I get that as quickly as they took my money. I still feel like such a fool!!! I will be canceling my debit card to prevent potential future charges. This experience has sealed the deal for me on trusting my gut feelings!

    • So glad I took the time to read this. Got my first call today but couldn’t talk. “Unknown” pressured me for an appointment time to speak. I set it up. But now know not to answer. The Unknown made me suspicious immediately.

  17. I fell for it the first time too for $700. I actually received a call yesterday with the same sales pitch of “Woman of the Year.” Fortunately I told them, “No, I will not pay $1500 for an award.” Don’t fall for this. I didn’t realize how many women have been taken advantage of by this company.

  18. Yeah, I got this call today from a Blocked number too. Very scripted, sounded like she was reading, so I was on my guard immediately, even though there was tons of ego-stroking.

    After I declined the two highest priced ($695 & $495, respectively) she went down to $289 & $189 when I told her I was under the impression that membership was free.

    Finally I told her “I see where this is going, and I’d like to withdraw my application.”

    Then I googled NAPW found this. Good thing I listened to my intuition!

  19. I had this same thing happen to me about 5 years ago when i first started my biz and was thrilled for any kind of recognition.
    I was very excited about the organization at first, but then I realized that their website was pretty useless and there was no benefit from being part of the organization.
    They automatically renewed my yearly membership for $600 and I had to argue with them to get the charge back….Ultimately I ended up paying $199 to “downgrade’ the membership after being letting myself be manipulated by the not so nice guy on the other end.
    For a while I blamed myself for not taking advantage of all the great services that they were offering to get my $$$ worth, but then I realized that they just weren’t offering anything of value to me.
    I am glad that you brought this out into the open!

  20. Thanks for your story! They have been calling me for weeks now. The first two callers sounded as if they were reading from a script so I knew then something was not right. I quickly came up with an excuse to get off the phone. Their attitudes were’nt perky (as you would expect) but they managed to quickly become even more rude once I said they reached me at a bad time. Then finally today….I take the time to listen to the third caller to see what really they had to say (by now I’m sick and tired of them calling my phone so I decided to answer). The nerve of this LADY! She practically begged for my credit card number over the phone. And get this…she actually said she would use the information I gave her to keep on file for when I was ready to pay. Errrr. Something’s got to be done!

  21. I just received a phone call claiming I had been selected as Woman of the Year. I found it rather amusing as my company, while in a good place in it’s first year of business, in no way deserves such “high” esteem. I wanted to ask her “why exactly did you pick me? I haven’t done THAT much this year… membership low or something?” Oh well, glad I didn’t fall for it and really happy that you wrote this article about it Michelle!

  22. Today I received an invitation for a “free” membership in NAPW. Sensing something was not right (my old cynical self at work), I decided to check and sure enough, found your blog. I was REALLY incensed that they would send this garbage to my workplace!
    It is also very clever of them to play on women’s need for recognition and take advantage of the fact that there are really hard-working women out there who are looking for legitimate ways in which to network.
    Thanks for exposing this and don’t think for one minute that you have been unfair to these people.

  23. OMG…they also go by the National Association of Professional and Executive Women – they called me today to say that I WON the Woman of Year award – very strange since I have not been active in the organization at all…they scrammed me about a year ago….I have since moved and changed bank accounts hence the phone call today trying to get me to upgrade to lifetime membership for $399! Stay away from them…

  24. I got the call today and everything you said happened! They even went so far as to break up the $495 discounted price into payments. I paid $200 for the regular membership earlier this year! The woman on the other end was pressuring me and that really did it for me! It was a long shot anyways, I run a part time business without much time for a lot of charitiable contributions.
    This puts much doubt about those that are napw women of the year. Deserved or bought?

  25. D’oh! Michelle, I’m so glad I found this website of yours, although I wish I’d Googled these guys BEFORE I signed up online! Well, I’ll be prepared when the phone calls come in. Thanks so much for posting this!

    • ME TOO, I just signed up on line but will now not be answering any calls, I did think it was weird that the asked for 3 phone numbers and email optional, i suppose that is emails can be deleted to easy!!! sue

  26. Pingback: Beware, Pickpockets and Loose (Professional) Women: The Art of Money Getting | Kristine for President

  27. Thanks for the post. I got my letter of approved membership. I even got a featured profile at www.”myname” I knew it was a scam for several reasons … but I checked out my profile for the fun of it. It was just a sign up page … the first step of who knows how many. Googled National Associations of Professional Women/scam and found a lot of stories. BTW, I don’t have any reason to standout .. I work as a team and everything is put in my partners name. No ego to stroke here … but there’s plenty of other scam to “help women become all they were meant to be” 🙂

  28. Thank you for this post!
    I got my invite, too, and sent it in. I too got the phone call telling me of all the help I could get help from more experienced women out there, which is what got my attention. I did ask how they got my name & company info as I am a small Internet business. Dimitra told me that someone had to nominate me. I was offered the elite & preferred packages. Got the same speech about how all sales were final and right under her breath how much the taxes would be, how I would automatically be charged annually, and asked if I wanted an beautiful glass plaque to show my membership for an additional $199.
    It’s funny that I did look them up when I got the invite and just found their site-minus any mention of the fees.
    When Dimitra went on to tell me that I would receive their program package, that I would receive info from some collge with a list of available classes I would be interested in-for a reduced fee. Well, I did pay for the preferred package of $508, then she told me there would be another charge of $189 to build my web site featuring my web site. I know what I am paying to do my own and $189 ain’t it! She called me on my cell from a blocked number, too. And that gut feeling you get was pinging loud and clear. The next morning I checked my credit card account. They must be slipping because I wasn’t charged a dime-yet. So I called my bank, explained the situation, and closed my account.
    And now I have found plenty of sites like this one that they haven’t had scrubbed clean and so glad to find! I find it too weird that what these people do isn’t illegal. I think someone should tell Oprah & Ellen Degeneres to put the word out and THAT would really get the word out and fix them real good!
    Cancel your credit card or debit card and file a dispute. There is no such thing as non refundable especially when they do not provide what they say they will. Canceling will keep them from charging you again down the road.

  29. Well I thought I had cancelled this transaction before I could be charged, but I was too late. The $508.95 went through & the $189 was stopped. My bank asked if this company stated that the transaction was final and you know, I wasn’t sure. I called the number that the bank said is on the statement (not printed for me yet) and I got a live rep who sent me to a voice mailbox. I left a message stating that this service was too pricey for me and left my number. Got a call back from the Craig person everyone has mentioned. He offered to cut the fee in half because production costs. And yes, they record the conversations because he played it back. Funny but these were the parts where I couldn’t make out what she said. But it is clear as a bell on their end and this is how they don’t violate any credit card rules. I mentioned that there are no local chapters of napw here in Nevada. He mentioned of the classes (national seminars training) and how class fees are waived with membership. None of these classes would help me network with other business women and this is why I joined. I have a masters degree and the classes offered are for people really & truly just starting out in life, not just business.
    So, I will see what I can do to get ALL of my money back. I asked that Craig send me via e-mail the refund he said he would do and documenting the call we had-asking that my name & business be removed from all of their entities and to be not contacted ever again. Hope THAT call was recorded!

    • i also was duped and after hanging up, i just did not feel right about the entire conversation, googled, and found this site. i immediately called ‘patricia’ back, it was only 15 minutes after hanging up with her previously, and told her i wanted to cancel my membership. she tried several attempts to ‘lower’ my membership fee, but i told her at this time i wasn’t interested and really can’t afford it. thinking my membership was canceled and my account safe from the fee being withdrawn was not the case. mind you, this happened at 10 a.m. on a thursday…they took the money out of my account the next day! i called and left a message on patricia’s v.m. and when i return to work on monday, she will be the first phone call i make! they better not throw the recorded conversation bs at me…

  30. Hi Michelle:
    I received a letter from the National Association of Professional Women in November of 2010. The letter invited me to fill out their information card and mail it back. The letter said that I had been chosen to represent my city as a new member of this organization. I felt immediately honored but had that gut feeling that this could be a scam. I set the letter aside and here it is January, 2011. I looked at this letter and got on the internet searching for something about this organization. Not finding anything with any meat on it , I found your site, Thank You! Thank You! What else is there to say but again Thank You for providing your story so that others like me don’t fall into the the same situation as you. You are so very appreciated for reporting this .

  31. Thank you, Michelle. The scam is still on and and gratefully I searched before biting. I found your blog through the Executive Women’s Association. This is an important review. Thank you for sharing it.

  32. I just received my invitation and “free” membership for 2011/2012. Immediately I sensed something amiss, so I Googled the organization and found your site. This will be going in “File 13” and should I receive a follow-up phone call it will be handled in a similar fashion!
    Thank you for the heads up.

  33. Well, as a newly professional woman, I was somewhat excited to get something like this – although I must add, I was also quite uncertain what prompted it.

    You see, I’m a trans woman – I was assigned a male gender at birth, and have since taken steps to correct this. I have only been using my new name professionally for a few months. I haven’t even completed my legal name change yet! As such, there are VERY limited numbers of people who would have my current name, and even fewer who would have my work address. By the by, I am near certain that my information was sold by the Fred Pryor Organization, so if you enroll with them for classes, be very careful what you provide them.

    Anyway, I did some quick digging, and this post was listed in one of the top three message boards regarding this scam. After reading just the first page, let alone all the way up to this post, I was done, I’d seen enough. This is very clearly a scam, defined solely by the fact that the organization makes unannounced charges once you provide them with your information. Take the warning here – do not ever commit to an honor for which you must pay, and in this case, this is definitively one of those organizations. If you are already taken in by them, get out and instruct your bank to change your information.

  34. Hello Michelle,
    Thank you for posting your experiences with “NAPW”. I received their wonderful little letter today. A red flag went up instantly when I opened the envelope. “Ah, they think I’m a sucker, do they”? My husband has received the calls and letters from Cambridge and we never give them the time of day. I decided to conduct a google search and came up with your blog. Thank you! Very informative! Can I get your permission to post your blog on my facebook site?
    I am going to return the card they inclosed to join and tell them I know they are a scam and never to contact me at ALL! I will not be that polite though! I don’t have an ego as much as I have a temper! I hate s#$t like this! Thank you again for your blog!

  35. Thanks for the input. I was wondering, but I did have a reservation about the letter I received saying I had been “recently chosen to represent” my very small home town… it didn’t quite add up. Now I know why! Thank you again.

  36. I saw a NAPW advert on Facebook and thought it was legit. It was a red flag that I had to fill out a form to apply for membership just to find out some real info about the organization, but the website looked so shiny and slick I figured “this is how it’s done” with professional organizations (like when private clubs don’t tell you their fees until you’re invited to join).

    They called today and “interviewed” me, and I talked myself up, all the while wondering why they were buying it – I’m not all that special, just on the bottom rung of my professional career ladder. I thought this might help with networking, but when they told me the fees, I instantly realized I couldn’t afford it and tried to get off the phone as politely as possible. They tried to pressure me into buying, but they weren’t going to get anywhere as I am flat broke!

    I thought I remembered something about free membership on their site, so I went back to look it up and sure enough, there’s mention of “complimentary basic membership”. This wasn’t mentioned at all during the phone conversation, which was another red flag. I decided to do some more Googling, which is what brought me here.

    For once, it worked in my favor that I have no money – otherwise I may have fallen for their scam! Thanks for an informative article.

  37. I also received the free membership invite from NAPW & was excited as I’m a recent college grad with a newly established business. I was flattered when I got the “invite to join” but then I remembered that “If someone wants to blow your horn, they are just trying to screw you…”
    I thought at first that my school affiliations may have been how they got my info. After further examination of my name & contact info on the letter, I realized that the state of PA had actually sold my business info to them when I set-up my LLC. (I will be contacting friends in the state legislature about this, including the state AG.) In fact I would encourage everyone that is being scammed or harassed by this group to contact your state Attorney General’s office.
    If NAPW contacts me by phone, they will be quite surprised when I inform them that they are being recorded. I also thoroughly investigate everything before I jump into it. It’s a basic business tenet I learned in business management. I was surprised when I checked-out NAPW’s website & Donald Trumps daughter was promoting it. (This doesn’t say much good about her or the Trump organization to me. My opinion, everybody has one… first amendment right.)
    If you want to network use sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, & other truly “free” sites. Join “local” business organizations where you live & branch out to national organizations from local contacts. If you have college affiliations, check to see what business organizations they are affiliated with & join those. I also wish that as business women, we could all join a legitimate association, that is sanctioned & recommended by the BBB. Anybody know of one???
    Anyway… I’m making a copy of this article & putting it in a safe place so even if it gets scrubbed from the net, it can be reposted over, and over, and over again.
    Thank you Michelle! You are an Angel for looking out for the rest of us… DON’T TRUST ANYONE LADIES!!!

  38. I recieved the same phone call today and after she stroked my ego I was appalled to hear her say that I needed to pay $499. Having an appointment within 5 minutes of this news, I informed her that I have to do a home assessment and to call me later. She continued to talk over me and tell me that later would be to late and I had to pay now for my worthy position!! She stated that she could give me a trial for half the price $289 and she would check that box for me!! After her not even listning to anything I had to say, I hung up on her because she wouldnt stop talking! Im repulsed by the whole thing.

  39. Just this morning, I received my interview call from NAPW. Fortunately, I did not go forward with membership even when they offered an $89, six month option. Just to confirm my suspicion that I did the right thing by opting out, I did some searching online about NAPW and found your site. Thank you, Michelle, for sharing this information!

  40. Thank you so much for posting this. I just got off the phone with them, minutes ago. I usually don’t pick up ‘private caller’ calls – but I did. Lesson learned. Like Cherie above – they started with one number and ended on an $89 introductory rate. The whole conversation, something didn’t feel right. Although, I have to say – they are really good at the whole sales technique thing. I was feeling alsorts of great when I thought about being in a member spotlight, and the exposure, etc etc.

    I was suspicious of how pushy she was when it came time to ask for my credit card information – which I didn’t give. I asked her for a link to be able to research a little, on their website and pay online. She wouldn’t oblige. It was definitely a script. She lowered the cost 4 different times when she sensed I wasn’t about to pay. This leaves a really bad taste in my mouth about the whole organization.

  41. Me too. Just got off the phone with “Deborah” in New York. She apparently tried the land-line, didn’t leave a message, then called my cell. Private Caller = I should have known better. While she was blah-blah-blahing, I started to google ‘napw’ and google filled in ‘napw scam’! And here we are.
    She didn’t stick around after I asked her if there were any fees, because I was NOT going to pay anything. Not interested, sorry you wasted my time. -click-

  42. I just got off the phone with these people, I bought it until she told me it would be over $400 for the membership. When I told her my credit card is a little tight so I have to think about her response was, “you have NO room at all on your credit card?”. Excuse me? She tried to sell me less expensive memberships but I was a little turned off by that comment, luckily because then I found this! It’s hard to beleive that almost a year later this is still going on.

  43. I just fell for this myself, and I have to admit I’m not sure if I’m more angry or embarrassed! I received the letter a few weeks ago and like you, was pretty honored that they found my name (how though, I had no idea) and wanted to include me in their group. Their website looked legitimate enough, but I totally forgot about it until this morning. That’s when I got the call from “Yvonne.” I went through the same interviewing and ego-stroking you talked about, and even though it was beyond obvious she was reading a script, I blocked it out. At the end she told me I could opt for the regular membership or the elite, and I was told the elite was “only” six eighty-whatever. Stupidly, I assumed 6.80, since I would only be getting a member card and access to another part of the website. After the phone call I checked my bank account and immediately felt sick. Turns out she meant six HUNDRED eighty dollars, but kindly charged me over 700. I called back not five minutes after signing up, and then suddenly there was no one to answer the phone on any of their lines. I was embarrassed and hurt. I told her I was a recent graduate working at my first job, and she was quick to compliment me over and over on my accomplishments so far. The fact it is women doing this to other women is appalling. I got the call first thing this morning and have already called to have a hold placed on my credit card, been to the bank to cancel it and order a new one, and filled out the paperwork to dispute the charge. Not only did I get suckered in to this and have to wait weeks to be reimbursed, but valuable time was taken out of my work day meaning I will be staying late today. I can’t believe I fell for this and will warn every woman I know.

    • You know, the reason I was mostly angry in the first place was because they wasted so much of my time, and if they truly honor and respect businesswomen, then they would be more transparent about why they’re calling and “cut to the chase.” Instead, it’s this whole runaround that took a chunk out of my busy day – and in your case, because of the misrepresentation, it’s eating up even more time, time that I’m sure you don’t have to spare. I feel for you.

      • Thanks for the reply Michelle. I just got the call from my bank apologizing and saying that my dispute did not go through, and suggested I keep calling them on my own to try to get my money back. Which is more time taken out of another day. I really just can’t believe this. I feel like one of the only people they were able to make a fool of with the full price, and again I feel sick. You know…the lesson learned here is not to trust anyone and be on the defense. Which really adds to the negative perception of women in the workplace. Way to go, NAPW.

  44. That’s terrible, Rebecca. My advice? Try filing with the Better Business Bureau. From what I gather they are making a major effort to clean up those ratings, so if you post there, you’re likely to get a response…

    Keep me posted, please.

  45. Thanks for this piece – I am one of the ones who fell for the initial membership, and then just got the call today for the “Woman of the Year’…. Interestingly enough, the tack they were taking with me today was that the $995 was to provide me with “unlimited and free” access to all the training and seminars they offer. Huh?

    As some of the other comments have reported, the caller started getting rude and extremely condescending when I declined. The whole thing has left me with a really bad taste in my mouth.

    One thing I noticed – both calls (the initial one re membership, and the one today re Woman of the Year), were at 9 am on a Monday morning. They really are smart. Great time to hit people before they really get their brain into gear…

  46. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and really appreciate the investigation. Same thing happened to me, and I wasn’t sure if it was me or they were the evil-doers. Your story helps confirm that, yup, they are the evil-doers. Here’s my story.

    I fell for it when they sold me the membership. After joining, I never update my profile. I was pregnant and stopped working the same time I joined NAPW. So basically I had no accomplishment that they would know of. Then two months ago, I got exactly the same call that you got. They wanted to feature me so they asked me about my accomplishment. I am not usually comfortable talking about myself with stranger, so I kept my answers very short, and she was having a hard time engaging me so she could stroke my ego. She was very soft-spoken and friendly, just like what you described. When she couldn’t get me to talk about myself, she moved on to the script and said I was selected to be nominated for the “woman of the year”. How nice, right? Immediately I thought, what achievement of mine qualified me to be “woman of the year”? I was pregnant and did not work for over 8 months! But she was friendly, so I didn’t want to be rude. I let her keep talking. Then she said I would be featured on their website, and they would send me a mahogany plaque with a certificate. I thought, ok why not, I can use some wall decoration. That was when the $995 was introduced. I was surprised at first and thought I heard it wrong. I asked if she said $9.95 or $995. She confirmed the price. I said no. She kept pushing. I said no. Then told her I wanted out of my NAPW membership because frankly speaking, this whole tactic as well as the organization sounded to me are just a bunch of scams. She got offended, but I could tell she was taking a deep breath then went back to that soft-spoken and friendly tone. That was when I got really annoyed because 1) she wasted so much of my time, 2) she wouldn’t take no for answer, and 3) I felt like I was being manipulated, like they were playing games with my head. Anyway. I forgot how the conversation ended, I did not hang up on her because I am a polite person. But I did tell her to cancel my membership and have NAPW leave me alone. Guess what, today, I got a Membership Renewal Notice in email. The gist of the email is this:

    “It is our pleasure to inform you that your annual renewal for membership with the National Association of Professional Women has been approved……. Your annual renewal of $99 has been processed, so there will be no interruption in your membership. If you have any questions please call our billing department at 1-866-540-6279, option 0, for assistance.”

    Then at the end of the email, it said “Please do not reply to this email”.

    I am not going to say more about this. After reading this email, I have to call my credit card company to file a report on NAPW so they won’t authorize that charge. I wrote an email to them telling them that they did not have my consent to charge me for renewal, and they need to cancel my membership.

    I am still amazed that Ivanka Trump is associating herself to this organization. I hate to think that, by endorsing NAPW she’d make a good cut from all the scam money they make.

  47. I totally fell for this – especially the whole “Woman of the Year” thing. I’m actually kind of embarrassed that I fell for it, but the pressure they put on you at the time and the stroking of the ego made it worth while. :/… fortunately, I was able to call my cc company and cancel my card as well as retract the charges from my account.

  48. Yeah, a couple of years ago I got sucked in to NAPEW as well. Then, they just “renewed” me this year without ever talking to me or letting me know. When I tried to call them, all I got was voice mail and no return calls. I emailed both email addresses and same thing. It is painful to realize how many people they take advantage of.

  49. I just filled out my application with a fictitious name.hope everyone does they will have to pay the postage.where is eye witness scam busters when you need’s funny because I didn’t join or get to talk to anyone and still wasted four hours of my life investigating them. I want to smash them.

  50. I nearly got suckered into this myself about a year ago. I remember being on the phone with someone for quite some time. I was thinking, how great this type of networking organization could be for my career and then came the FEE structure, which of course is nowhere on their website. I quickly got the “lovely lady” off the phone and told her I thought it was preposterous of them to wait until the end of the call – the complimentary membership of course was some kind of phony. Well, glad I am not the only one. At least I didn’t pay anything!

  51. I had the same lady called me a few days ago “Yvonne” at my store with a blocked number. I talked to her and I swear I heard she told me that preferred membership is 48.90 and elite membership is 68.90 and like 9.99 fee, I even wrote those amounts down. So I opted for the preferred membership figuring it would just be 58.89. Then she asked me for my card information, and I asked her why don’t they just bill me by mail or something online I prefer that over the phone. So she said it was exclusive membership offer and stuff and so I fell for it.

    I was outraged when I got charged for 208.95. I only fell for it because one of my clients recommended me to join, and I got a letter from them so I assumed it was the same organization my client recommended . I called Yvonne back and she told me membership was like 489 and 689! She said she tried to bill me for the preferred membership and it didn’t go through so she went ahead and billed me for a basic membership. I was pretty pissed off, how can she charge me for something I didn’t consent to. So I told her I want to cancel my membership, and she said that she would get their billing department to call me to take care o it. “David” or who ever called me today (with a blocked number) said that he listened to the recording and said he heard her tell me it was 208 and that their sales is final. But I said I did not understand that it was that amount and I never consent her to charge me for that much. So he said he can only refund me 108, the rest went to corporate already. I just accepted it, at least I get something back. I just want to get it over with, I don’t want to have to think about it anymore because it’s embarrassing that I fell for something like this.

    I felt like a dumb ass! I was surprised when she first told me that I would be featured on their newsletter or something and all that fluff asking about my accomplishments. I was actually flattered. I don’t know why I didn’t know it was a scam, I don’t know why red flags didn’t go off when I talked to her.

    I wish I saw all of these postings on the NAPW earlier, I only checked out their website and it looks legit enough.

  52. Thank you for this article! I received a letter in the mail this week stating “It is my pleasure to inform you, that your 2011/2012 membership has been approved for the National Association of Professional Women.” Further down it states “There is no fee to be included” so I thought I’d get online and check it out. My husband saw the letter and encouraged me to join for the networking and professional contacts.

    On the website I searched by company name and found a woman listed who is at my same company; I sent her an email asking about it – she said she had joined thinking that she would participate but hasn’t and she mentioned that she felt pressured to join and agreed before discovering the cost (which they lowered when she balked). I’m just glad that I did not respond to the letter or sign up on the website! I feel like I dodged a bullet!!

  53. Yes. I received a letter in the mail. Thanks for putting this out on the Internet!
    What a shame that a website with the name of women on it would stoop that low.

  54. I am also glad you posted this because I just received a letter also. I am suprised this is even legal. Where did they get my information in the first place and the nerve to call and try to scam me. WTF.

  55. Wow…I literally just got off the phone with this company for my “acceptance interview”! I was going along with everything then the light bulb went off once I started hearing the “benefits” of membership. My first thought was “sounds too good to be free”. So I was googling as she was explaining the benefits…I found this and other links. Needless to say the conversation ended without my spending one single penny. Thanks for posting this! I wonder if I’ll still get my “packet”!? LOL

  56. Wow, thank you for posting this information. I also received this letter yesterday and was a little suspect, considering I didn’t solicit any information and have only just purchased a website for my new business (meaning, the website company clearly sold my information). Glad to know to steer clear and throw this away!

  57. Thanks so much. I got an email from MyPoints and I wanted the 25 points for filling out the form. I appreciate your expose, especially telling us that they want 995.00. I don’t have it, LOL! And if I did, I wouldn’t pay it. I am trying to get back on my feet after an 11 day hospitalization and 70 days of no work. I’m struggling to pay my mortgage and keep my car as well as eat and keep the lights on. When they call, I will just politely say “no, thanks”, and if that won’t stop the spiel, I’ll recount my tale of woe; that might get them off the phone!

  58. Sherri, from my experience that your tale of woe would be just another angle for them to try and sell you! They would be telling you how you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t do everything you could to get back to work, and how COULD you turn down such a GREAT opportunity? They are unbelievable sales people, and know how to prey on people’s insecurities and self-doubt.

  59. Michelle,
    Thanks for sharing so honestly. I experienced similar incidents while doing marketing & PR for my boss, Joy Wallace, although not with NAWP. Keep up the great work.

  60. I actually saw a postcard in the mail and APPLIED for this myself!! They called to do the interview and I was promised LOTS of things! When the suggested a price for the “award” and membership fees, I balked and said, I thought membership was free.” To which she responded, “oh yes, it IS free, this is just for such-and-such,” then quoted me another, lesser fee. By the time we were done talking, most of which I cannot recall, I was suckered out of $89. Now I’m trying to get it back. Like you said, I was “Supposed” to be featured in their newsletter AND be listed on their new members list – NOT!

  61. Mivi,
    Thank you for your post! I received an invitation today for a “free” membership and thought this can’t be true. After a short google search, your blog came up and I read your article. I can’t throw this invitiation away quick enough. I hope you are well!
    Take Care,

  62. Michelle,

    Thank you for your blog about this organization. NAPW does not seem to give up easily once they have been in contact with a “prospective buyer” and I’m glad my email account put their communication in my spam folder. I have never heard of a person having to pay to be recognized. Their tactics are not only misleading, but very bulliesh also.

    Again, great job and thank you for posting the truth about NAPW and their scams!

    Warm regards,


  63. Just had an identical phone call. I’m pretty good at sniffing out bs and ended the call after 5 minutes. When I told the lovely lady on the phone that it sounded like a scam she got super pissed. What a waste of my time.

  64. Michelle, thank you so much for your high quality blog. I will share it on my Facebook. I’m not going to call NAPW a scam because I didn’t get scammed. I found you and others like you before I considered making a move, and my instincts were rewarded.
    Thank you!!!
    I want to reiterate what has already been said: Ladies, look to your inner wisdom as your best resource in telling you how awesome you are!

    • Hi Michelle!
      Thank you so much for this story and information. I am a stay at home mom who has recently decided to make the headbands, beanies and accessories I make for my daughter for the rest of the mommies out there by creating a website and selling them to the public. I have spent months building the website, making every item I sell, doing all my own photos as well as all the behind the scenes stuff in order to have my little business run smoothly and most importantly make my customers happy! Overall after all my hard work on I am pleased with the outcome and as far as sells that is coming along. Well back to the point today I received a letter saying all these magical things about being chosen to represent my city as some NAPW thing, and my first instinct was to see what this was all about.. The first thing I saw when I googled NAPW was your blog and then NAPW scams and I am so glad I did!! I cannot afford scams or my time wasted on people who would really stoop this low, and in my case to a stay at home mom just minding her own business. So I do not have a horror story to tell thanks to you, so I appreciate it!! Take care all and I hope this helps many other women out there who may become a victim to such nonsense!

  65. I received a letter today and I was JUST about to log in to their website to respond when my Google intuition kicked! I found you and few others and I thank you so much.


  66. I’m so happy I did further research (positive & negative) on NAPW before I gave them my payment info this afternoon!
    Thanks for the heads up!!
    Yasmin S
    The HMU Community Inc.

    P.S. I have to say that the representative I was dealing with from NAPW never lost her cool & never got aggressive or angry. She (Rachel) was polite the entire time…….ALMOST HAD ME!!!:-)

    Great post

  67. Thank You for this very informative post. I received a letter from “NAPW” offering me a free membership invitation. I researched NAPW’s credibility and found fine print that fees & charges may apply. I am glad to have found this article that prevented me from falling into, ” How I Fell Prey To Unsavory Sales Techniques Targeting Professional Women” list of women. I would have been in the same shoes as the woman in this article.
    Thanks for sharing this very important information.

  68. Yup, fell prey to this scam too. They even started charging my credit when ever they felt. I caught it and blocked them but they are crooks plan and simple, CROOKS.

  69. OK ladies… what are we going to do with this information? It’s not enough to just vent…there are enough of us to start our own networking organization.

  70. Ii received an invitation 2011. Is this company doing business in the same manner? I would like to know what type of business are you in or are hoping to get into. I’m looking for down to real earth professional/ real humans. IE: Graphics Artist who can handle direction and case sensitive materils, KNOW OF ANY?

  71. I had a VERY similar contact. The woman was pleasant, than asked for the $1000…I told her I had just lost my house and didn’t know how I was going to make it, and SHE JUST KEPT GOING! She could have cared less. I told her there was no way I could afford it and she didn’t skip a beat…the only way to stop her was to hang up. I was so upset that this woman had absolutely no compassion, all she cared about was getting the money for a so-called Woman’s Organization. Criminal.

  72. Same exact thing happened to me. Verbatum. And when my memmbership ran out, they made an unauthorized charge to my vredit card for another unsless year and waste of time and money. Avoid these crooks like the plague. Thank you, MIchelle, for giving me a place to vent my anger at being ripped off over and over again by these creeps.

    • Update: After contacting my credit card company asking them to get my money back, I decided to try and get a hold of someone at NAPW to voice my displeasure. When I was finally able to get someone to even answer the phone, all they would do, after telling them honestly why I was calling, was transfer me to a recording! After several times dealing with that, I decided to get BBB involved. Between my credit card company and BBB I finally received a reimbursement. Happy ending for my wallet…sort of…but a bitter taste for my faith in feminine commerce, sorry to say. (Makes me wonder…was the whole NAPW fiasco born of a testosterone driven ambition to dupe gullible folks like me? Stranger things have happened, I suppose…)

  73. THANK YOU for writing this. Got a bullshit letter in the mail that stank of scam, but just to make sure I googled it and found you. Thank you for posting your personal experience.

  74. I too was also contacted. And now I am recieving e-mails often to join. The first time I did do the 1/2 hr interview. The woman was nice and slippery. When she got to the “benefits” going with the amopunt you paid. I said cant afford the $995 (the Woman of the Year Award-yeah right I haven’t done much here on the island I live on). I had just started a non profit for emergency services for the island. She then gave me another lower price- she kept pushing and reading from her script. When I told her financial problems stop me from paying even that price she gave me even another. When I was finally able to get her off the phone. She advised that she would keep me on a list of potentials for 30 days, and that the fees would be the same.

    I am so glad also like the other women to see your blog.

    I have been sucked in before with another company and it is over a year and 2 complaints to Better Business Bureau to make a complaint and hopefully get a CC refund.

    Keep up the good work
    Karen M

  75. Thank you so much, Michelle, for still keeping this posted. I just got one of NAPW’s letters informing me that I was chosen to represent Orlando as a new member. I was to verify my featured profile, given my own url, and told that no fee was needed with the application.
    I decided to go to the website, check my url, and find out what the fees would be.
    Of course, I was not able to find the information, and believe me I seached. If I read it correctly, everybody starts out with a basic membership, and then the fees depend on your position in your chosen profession. I tried to search it, but there was no result available. No matter where I went, I just kept being directed to the application page. That was when I got a little suspicious and googled “membership fees for napw” and got your post.
    So again, THANK YOU for saving me from having my credit card harassed like some of the women have commented. I definitely cannot afford $1000 for a year’s membership to anything. Now that I know better, I almost feel sorry for all the happy faces I saw on the website.

  76. I just got off the phone with someone from NAPW and they really pissed me off. I actually made the mistake of becoming a member and now I want to cancel my membership. Any advice on how to do this?

  77. Thank you Michelle for this site! I just received my “invitation” in the mail today…an invitation to join NAPW. I didn’t think it was for real. Thanks for having your story here to share what a scam group this is!

  78. Michelle, here we are almost 1.5 years since you published this, and you’ve got another big thanks from me! I never got farhter than their letter and an internet search, since I was very skeptical (thank you, trusted “gut” and cynicism!), and now that I’ve read your post, their membership letter to me went from the “stuff to look at” pile on my desk and straight into the “circular file!”

    Today I’d received their letter telling me how my membership had been “approved” and that there was “no fee to be included” and those right there were red flags: “approved” as a word trying to lend an air of exclusivity, and the whole part about not having to pay to be included sounded a heck of a lot like those bogus “who’s who” books.

    Still, I decided to check out their website, because I know NOTHING in life is free and I could at least see what they were trying to sell. Again, nothing on their website (under the membership, about, FAQ, or any other sections). There is no way an organization can afford a NYC office, an extensive website, big (supposedly free) conferences, and Star freakin’ Jones as a “national spokesperson” (like her or not, surely her fee can’t be cheap) — so where the heck is the money coming from to support the organization?

    I decided to poke around online and found a few alerts, yours being the best. So thanks again for confirming what I suspected, and for saving me some time and trouble. The sad part, though? It took me a little while to find this very valuable blog post — but only a few seconds to find the NAPW site and Facebook page (they have close to 12,000 followers!) so clearly they’re getting traffic from lots of people, most of whom likely have no idea of how they’re about to get suckered!

  79. That sounded like the exact call I got in summer 2009! I was contacted by a very nice woman from the NAPW who told me about joining this wonderful group of women and because of my non-profit organization – I had qualified for membership, and how beneficial they are to women. Plus, adding their organization to my profile would be a boost to my small organization, etc. Even running off some stars names who they said were also connected to NAPW. But I knew something was out of order. 1. I did not contact them on my own. 2. You have to give something to get something – especially something that seems so great and will benefit us.

    I was very impressed with the way the woman spoke but I knew that it was something she was used to doing and I was waiting for the ball to drop. I knew what I do is beneficial to women and I work hard with the other 4 people in our small outfit, to feed, clothe and provide families in crisis with some type of help. And I’m very proud of that. So, I know if we keep doing what we do – we will grow bigger and better and get the accolades we deserve. If I have to pay for this I’m not interested. I know a lot of women that do great things for people and by no means will I win woman of the year (we’re a new company and we have a long way to go), etc. Still – waiting for the dollar amount and when she said, “Membership will only be $495.00.” I said, “Oh really? CLICK!!!” After that, I went on the site and saw a bunch of women with their pictures and professions sprawled out for all the world to see but I did not see inclusion, working together, bonding or new members that were actually being helped or benefiting from this organization. It just did not feel right.

    The type of people this organization gets are the types of women that want a quick fix or rise to the top. The script is geared to them specifically. They want to network, get publicity and connect with other women and get funding and advice on how to grow and proceed in their business but that is not what they get. It’s a club where nothing much happens. They invest their monies in the hope of getting these things and to them, it’s worth it. We know a scam when we see and hear one and we’re not interested.

    Sunday, February 28, 2012 at 2:AM in the morning, they are running an infomercial with Star Jones as a spokeswomen for this scam organization. First of all, if you are a legit organization – you don’t go around calling people and misleading them, then drop a bomb on them! It’s very insulting and upsetting to think that these people are out there preying on people who are actually trying to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others. They will never get my money or vote. They should be shut down for their scam, etc. They are a shameless bunch. Just Shameful.

  80. Thanks Michelle
    Yes I have paid for 3 years of subscription to Who’s Who. And just submitted the offer to join NAPW. I will go ahead and hang up on them as soon as they call me back with info.

  81. I saw the Star Jones commercial at 3-4 AM, and the red flags went up. What kind of “professional” organization runs ads at that hour? And is Star Jones really that hard up for money? I Googled NAWP and came upon this blog post. I have shared the link to this on my Facebook page, so that none of my friends fall for this scam. Thanks for the great post.

  82. Saw the same commercial. Based on Star Jones’ weight (in the video vs. in real life), it was filmed several years ago. Wonder why it is surfacing nationwide now?

  83. March 11, 2012
    I too received a card and mailed it in. Got a call (while on vacation) last week from a very well spoken woman. Spent 10-20 minutes stroking my ego and giving me the good news…I had been excepted. She then dropped the “bomb” with the money. I explained I was on vacation and would not be making any financial decision until I got home. She pushed, pushed, and pushed. I told her I was not traveling with my business credit card and she said I should just put it on my personal card and then pay transfer the funds when I got home…..that was my breaking point. I had finally had it! I am in sales and I know when someone is being pushy…and she was pushy! I informed her I was not going to talk about it any more and I would appreciate her respecting my vacation time. I felt that something was wrong. I am home now doing my research about this group and found this site…thank goodness! I knew something was not right but it was not easy finding the REAL information! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  84. Thanks so much for your posts. I got “interviewed by NAPW this morning after my ego was stroked repeatedly and almost got scammed: I thought the lady, Barbara from NAPW said 4.89 dollars!.
    I got suspicious when she kept asking for my credit card details.
    Thank you.

  85. OMG thank you so much for giving me this information. I was contacted a couple of months ago but ignored it. Tonight I actually completed the registration information and I guess, will be expecting a call from a representative soon. I had a feeling that this was bogus! I knew there would be a cost because of how they kept saying that I can register for FREE…I was like…duhh it should be free! I dont sales or an attempt to get me to buy something….but I absolutely HATE being manipulated! You will not insult my intelligence! When you said that you could tell she skipped to the page to overcome objections I just laughed as I can relate to what you must’ve been feeling. Once again, thank you for the warning.

  86. I just went through the experience of having half my lunch hour wasted by someone from the NAPW who was clearly reading from a script designed to flatter me so thoroughly I would cough up $500-800 for membership. This after applying for the “free” membership online. I also refused to divulge some of the information they wanted, such as what charities I donate to. I eventually just said “no thank you” and hung up.

  87. I was charmed into joining. I only spent $89.00 so I don’t feel so bad. The original price she quoted me was $489.00. Every time I protested she had a different membership that “would fit my budget” now I feel scammed and I plan on calling my Amex card and blocking this charge. How despicable. I feel embarrassed to even be a part of this so called organization.

  88. I’m hoping to add to the voice of objection to this organization. I was sold on the idea of a national professional women’s registry which sounded good to me, but I didn’t need the mega recognition, so I signed up for the basic membership of $98. (Somehow they slipped another $49 charge onto my credit card, on Christmas day no less, and I have no idea what that was for.) Then they called to offer me some kind of recognition as “woman of the year” and this “privilege” would only cost me $995. “Gasp” what? After several “well, this is what I can do for you…” and repeatedly saying no, no NO, I finally hung up. Next thing I know I see this plaque in the mail, and a $495 charge on my Credit Card.Totally and completely unauthorized. Now I have to go through the trouble of blocking them from my card, disputing the charges and getting my money back. What a scam. Too bad, because I agree that a legitimate professional women’s network is a good idea.

    • How is it that these crooks are still “in business”? We need to keep reporting them to the BBB…

    • It doesn’t matter whose endorsement they fraudulently stole. This group is BAD NEWS & will rip you off. The BBB should be notified of this blatent misuse of their orginization’s logo & name…

  89. Two years after your initial post and they are still out there. My invite came in the mail last month. I considered checking out but was sidetracked before I could. As a commercially focused, professional organizer who ‘gets done what you put off’ I’m thrilled to have procrastinated long enough to learn about your blog. Thank you, Michelle.

  90. I saw their site online after signing for FREE Walmart gift card but in order to receive it you must sign up for something else, ie magazines, pills, credit cards (had to be approved), etc. So I thought OK I’ll only sign up for what I can get for free and NAPW was offering a free membership. Well the level kept going up o applying for a You know where all these sites come up and you have to apply for something and the level of stuff keep going up to where finally you say forget it. The thing is you dont get the gift card but all the information you gave out to try and get this darn card is out there and they will contact you. This is NAPW. I received my call today and she sold me, so nice and friendly and asking all the right questions. I too thought it was free so when she said 6-7-9 and 4-8-9 membership fee I was a little startle but dumb me thought 6 dollars and 79 cents so I said yes. Notice they do not say 600 or 400 dollars. I was giving my credit card number when DEVINE INTERVENTION, my phone went dead (had only gave out first 4 numbers). While waiting for the call back I decided to look them up because I was sure it said free membership although I was willing to pay such a small amount. First I read BBB where it listed 209 complaints but I couldnt open the complaints so I goggled and came up with your site. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I can’t wait for them to call back.

  91. They’re still at it. I just got off the phone after my “interview.” She directed me to the website during our phone call and on a whim, I googled them to see if there were any complaints about them. Yikes! I had my credit card out when I came upon this page. Finally told her I’d call her back after I looked over the info. Can’t wait for her to call back so I can tell her where to put her offer.

  92. Thanks for writing this…. I was very close to getting out the credit card for my $689 fee lowered to $89!!!! My gut told me walk away.


  93. Thanks for the insite i just received a letter saying they chosen me to represent my area and my membership has been approved. but what i am most displeased about it that STAR JONES is there spokeswoman of the year i wonder if she is aware they are using her name. WOW

    • I saw a full blown infomercial (about an hour long) starring Star Jones. But based on her weight (in the show), it was made many years ago.

      • I got a call today with an interview! I thought it sounded great, but then the prices came, first 689, then 489, then 189, then 89. I said I would think about it. Thank goodness I found this site. I haven’t decided how I plan to let her down when she calls, but rest assured I will not paying a dime! Thank you so much for this site. Two yrears later you are still saving women from bein scammed! Thank you!

  94. Yep. they are still at it. You start off feeling great, but by the end, I was hopping mad! Fortunately they didn’t get any of my $, but I was left feeling REALLY insulted. TELL EVERY WOMAN YOU KNOW about this scam. Unbelievable that everything they do is supposedly not breaking any laws, apparently, but TOTALLY UNETHICAL. Thanks for the post!

  95. Shame on Star Jones for lending her face to this scam. I sent in my application for complimentary membership and just received my call for “more information” from a lady in New York. That sent the red flags flying so I conducted my due diligence and found too many dissatisfied customers to count. Thanks for lending your voice.

  96. I could not agree more. What a total scam. When the woman on the other end of the phone told me how impressive my background was and wanted to congratulate me on being accepted into this wonderful organization, I was impressed. Then she told me that if I did not agree to pay by credit card over the phone immediately, I would lose out on this wonderful opportunity. I asked her to send me something in writing before I would agree to anything, but she said that was impossible. What in an insult to intellegent women around the country. Sorry, but there is nothing “exculsive” about an organization that has suckered nearly a 1/2 million women into paying nearly a $1,000 a year for a worthless membership that takes advantage of women, an organization that is suppose to “support” women.

  97. Thank you for your detail information regarding NAPW, I am a business woman and very busy, I really don’t have the time to play those games.

  98. Butt-obsessed’ female manager sued for ‘smacking, grabbing and pinching’ backsides of women colleagues
    A ‘butt-obsessed’ female manager at a New York-based women’s organisation regularly ‘smacked, grabbed and pinched’ the backsides of the women she supervised, according to a new sexual harassment complaint.
    Krissy DeMonte allegedly drove colleagues out of the National Association of Professional Women in Garden City, Long Island, where she has been a supervisor since September 2010.
    In legal papers, two former workers claim Ms DeMonte – who was pictured on Facebook burying another woman’s head into her breasts – called them names such as ‘vixen,’ ‘cutie’ and ‘hottie’ as well as ‘bitch,’ ‘a**hole’ and ‘dirtbag’ and made a daily beeline for their bottoms.
    ‘She was obsessed with butts. On an almost daily basis, she would smack me on the bum, pinch us, grope at us, and call us names like ‘bitch’ or ‘hottie’,’ Crystal Alexander, 26, told MailOnline.
    The NAPW boasts on it’s website of empowering women but another former colleague, Monique McCabe, said Ms DeMonte made her feel the opposite with her backside-slapping and derogatory remarks.
    ‘She’d say things like you’re hot, you’re sexy, no wonder all the guys love you,’ Ms McCabe, 28, said.
    ‘It made us very uncomfortable. I didn’t know what to do.’
    Ms McCabe and Ms Alexander – both single mothers – said they complained to human resources on multiple occasions but when Ms DeMonte found out, she became hostile and disciplined them.
    Both women were let go by the company in May 2012 and claim that it was because they spoke out about the ‘humiliating’ abuse.
    But the NAPW has stood by its manager, quashing the claims as inaccurate.
    ‘The organization stands collectively and unwaveringly behind its manager who has been made the victim of these false accusations,’ a spokesman told MailOnline.
    Ms McCabe, who worked under Ms DeMonte for almost two years, said she complained to HR twice about how she was being treated.
    ‘The first time nothing happened and the butt-slapping continued,’ she said. ‘The second time she stopped but from that point on they were looking for any reason to get rid of me.’
    Ms Alexander said she complained three times before HR told her they had to let her go.
    ‘We felt humiliated, disrespected, low and worthless,’ Ms Alexander said.
    The women said they weren’t the only ones Ms DeMonte targeted, adding that the harassment was rife in the NAPW office. They were, however, the only ones given the sack, they said.
    Other employees have signed affidavits to support the women’s claims.
    Ms McCabe said she was threatened by the company when they heard of the complaint.
    ‘No one should be subject to this kind of treatment in the workplace,’ Ms Alexander said.
    Both mothers are still looking for work.
    ‘I’m really struggling to make ends meet at the moment,’ Ms McCabe told MailOnline. ‘It’s been very difficult financially and emotionally.’
    They are suing for just compensation, but have not specified an amount.
    The women weren’t aware whether Ms DeMonte was a lesbian or not and recalled the woman discussing men she had dated.
    ‘The organisation claims to be the largest active women’s association in the country and everything they claim to do is to empower women and help them succeed, ‘ Ms McCabe said.
    ‘But this is the most disempowering thing you can do to a young woman. I was treated like a sex object.’
    Ms DeMonte is still working at the NAPW and the organisation has rallied around her.
    ‘During her three years with the organization she has been a leader, a positive example and a motivating force for our exclusively female team of membership coordinators,’ the spokesman said, adding that sexual harassment was not condoned.
    ‘It has become very clear that the two former employees are using a hot-button topic for personal gain.’

  99. I appreciate you writing this blog (and respect you for allowing it to remain published amid what I can only equate to as threats, even if abridged). I received a letter from the NWAP today vibrantly expressing that I’d been “chosen” to represent my city as a new member of the association. I had immediate reservations about it’s legitimacy and decided to do some searching. My first red flag waved when I found out that the “association” founder, a Mr. Matthew Proman, was, in fact, a man. Ummmm….okay. And after reading your blog, I’ve come to learn exactly how deft a “pro” this “man” is.

    Again, I thank you for putting this out there and attempting to help keep predators like this from preying on unsuspecting professional women.

  100. I got a letter today. Funny thing, Star Jones is their national spokeswoman, which made me want to google before going further. Shameful is what this is, and thank you ALL for sharing your experiences and saving the rest of us from this scam!!

  101. So glad to find this blog, albeit not surprised. Like many others, I received an “invitation” to become a member of NAPW “at no cost or obligation”. It looked so much like a ploy to gather contact information that I checked online, read this and other complaints, and promptly tossed the “invitation” in the trash. I agree that even if what NAPW is doing is legal, that doesn’t make it right or honorable.

  102. I was so glad to find your blog about the NAPW! I just got a phone call from them and they are still using the same tactics to pull women in. I was appalled at the price at the end of the warm compliments I received. They sure make you feel like you are well deserving, but then drop that ‘bomb’ on you at the end. Tricky sales tactics are a big turnoff!

  103. Hi, found this after a quick google search, since I just received my “exclusive member” invite to the NAPW (I admit, I was a tiny bit excited at first), but as I am ALWAYS cautious, I decided to look into it just a little and voila, found your cautionary tale! My recycle bin is filling up and a THANK YOU for sparing me the phone calls and aggravation!

  104. Thanks for your very enlightening site. I got my letter today for my “free” membership and since I didn’t fall off the turnip wagon yesterday, I decided to google this organization and found your site. I remain suspicious of companies that offer the “too good to be true” garbage.

    I had a company falsely represent the yellow pages online and offered to list my company to help drum up my business. Well, they told me $5.00/month with $.25 per click. I thought ok, that sounds great {too good to be true}. One month later I get a charge on my account for $100. Well I called them up asked what gives? The lady told my that I had over 2500 clicks. I knew right then I’d been had. I remembered a job ad I had seen offering $.08 per click and all you had to do was click on these links they sent you. I described this job to the lady knowing full well this is what they were doing and I told her that in my particular business (professional dog trainer) if someone clicks on my link and goes to my site it’s because they need help and I will get a call whether they choose me or not. I NEVER got one stinking call that month (mind you I was brand spanking new at the time this happened and we work off of word of mouth). Once I had told her this, I got an immediate FULL refund of my money.

    Amazing what people do for money these days. I would like to know where they get their lists from. I guess the internet makes just about anything accessible whether you like it or not. 😦

    Always do your homework on these companies, cause everyone thinks that just because you are self-employed, you’re loaded and they all want a piece of your pie.

  105. Thank you so much, I received my free membership in the mail, mailed it back because it looked legitimate, even googled them to check them out. didn’t google scam and NAPW until now. Just got off the phone with them. they were very complimentary and interviewed me, then tried to get me to pay for a membership. it went from $500 dollars to $89 dollars they were trying to get out of me. I finally said i feel like this is a scam and hungup. I’m usually savvy about these kinds of things. They really roped me in, i didn’t think it was a scam until the very end. Thank you so much for your post and all of the other women’s comments.

  106. Women are joining this each month by the hundreds. When I got “the call,” and heard it was nine hundred and something, I laughed. I said I already belonged to AAUW and several other organizations that not only keep me busy, but flatter me as well. Then they came down in price to $99 for a year’s “trial” membership. Okay, I thought. Let’s try them for year. Today I received a note that they’ve just activated my membership again (for $99.00). I e-mailed and said to stop it effective today and to NOT call me. They’ve done nothing except call again earlier this year and offer to feature me for few thousand dollars, which I laughed at again. Women by the hundreds are joining this organization, however, every year. What does the man who founded this woman’s group do with all this money from women lawyers and others who maybe can afford the exorbitant first price they ask to pay? Thanks for this article. I should have googled ages ago.

  107. Thanks for posting this! My co-worker set me up on an application and I got the call and I was like “WHO????”

    So I did the interview, and she told me they would accept me, etc, blowing smoke up my ass… I told her send my stuff to email and I’d make a decision because I had no idea who they were and she wouldn’t take NO for an answer. I tried to politely end the call, but she wanted my $49 dollars.

    (Apparently, if you keep saying NO, they will take it down to $49!) I had to just say, “Ma’am, I understand you gotta do what you gotta do, but I have to go NOW. Send me the email, or don’t, it seems to be rather easy to get accepted to your group–I’ll apply again later if I really want in. Click.”

  108. Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. They just tried to get me with the exact same thing! And the call went the same way, “due to my “impressive resume and accomplishments,” they would also be offering me a membership into the organization, costing almost $700! Lady, please. After I asked her would she send me some info in the mail or email so that I could look it over before I decide, and she told me no, I immediately knew it was a scam. She said that she could not send me anything, and the only way we could do this was over the phone. Well, I told her that I’m sorry, but I do not feel comfortable giving my information over the phone when I don’t have any information for it in front of me or in my email, AND you are calling from a blocked number, NEGATIVE! I refused, and she got even more persistent, and preceded to try to offer me a “special, one-time” membership price, in which I interrupted her and explained that I didn’t care if it was $1.00 or 50 cents! I wasn’t giving my credit card information to you over the phone, when I don’t even know who you are! They are very persistent. SCAM. Thanks for the post again.

  109. I just got off the phone after having almost the exact same conversation. I regret to say I was suckered into a “basic” membership for $79 (or $99?) earlier this year when my job situation had just turned sour and I really needed a new job. A professional networking group for women sounded great! I just wasted about 15-20 minutes on the phone having my ego stroked about being a National Woman of the Year (OK, I know I’m awesome, but I really haven’t achieved anything overly noteworthy, which made me start to question the call). Then came the pitch of for only $995, I was only half-listening until she wanted to verify my credit card number, at which point, I did sit up and question why I would need to pay for an honor? I pointed out that I was buying a house and could not spend that kind of money. She persisted, dropping the price & then offering a payment plan. Finally, I told her I could not commit to anything like this right now as I had not even had time to explore the original membership that I purchased. After hanging up the phone, I did a search for NAPW scams and came upon several blogs like this. I’m VERY glad I did not give them authorization to charge me!

  110. Just today I received an “invitation” for free membership into this organization. No doubt because I recently started a new job as a “director” of a library. Nevermind the library is in a village 300 people! Hahaha. It just reeked of ‘potential scam’ so of course, I googled and located this blog post. This junk mail is going straight to the recycle pile! Thanks!!

  111. I fell for the $99 membership a few months ago. I think because many organizations require some kind of membership fee. Today they called to try to sell the woman of the year award and I declined despiter her push and special offer. This organization advertises on linkedin, which was the only reason I thought it was legitimate. I’m going to write them to complain.

  112. This blog is AWESOME! I am not one to see and jump (I saw Star Jones, read the bland letter and saw the membership form) The first thing I did was hit the web. They were on scam alert but the alert noted that they are doing all that they can and have improved on customer relation and satisfaction- so I clearly must do some more research 2 links down was this blog- After reading some from 2010, thinking that things may have gotten better like the scam alert said….I scrolled down: August 16, 2012 (last week) was the last post….. I am throwing it ALL away! Thank you ladies (Star Jones doesn’t have the best reputation her as their spokesperson does not surprise me!!!!!!) However, if you are looking for an Image Consultant or Branding Specialist feel free to contact me: 602.781.0957, I am based out of Arizona, but travel all over the Country! Best of Luck Ladies! – Lauryn Ashley (Lauryn Ashley Image Consulting and Brand Development)

  113. I just received a call from the NAPW. They did offer me a membership with of course a hefty fee. I kept saying that I need to talk to my HR department and other women in my workplace to find out more about NAPW and their yearly fee meanwhile, the lady rep on the line kept lowering the fee. It went from at least $600/year down to $89/year. She kept questioning why I wouldn’t want to be associated with their network. All of the free seminars and leading-edge information. I stuck to my guns and did not give her any credit card information. Right after I got off the phone, I saw several posts like this one saying the NAPW is a scam. Very sad. I hope that no one else falls victim to this scam.

    • Good that you stuck to your guns and did not give any credit information. I was a member for a year, and when they said my membership renewal was coming up I sent an e-mail saying I’m canceling, do not charge my card, and do not call me. Well, sure enough they charged my card, but because I put it on American Express, I told them to not accept. Now I’m waiting for my phone call since NAPW can’t follow directions. But then I’ll be able to tell them directly that their heavy-handed ways to get money from women to give to the man who runs the organization is a scam.

  114. Thank you so much for posting your story and allowing others to share similar experiences. Apparently it’s still going on ! I also got a nice postcard in the mail but instead of sending in the reply card (only because I was out of stamps) I went to the site and it seemed to be somewhat legit… I didn’t initially see anything about a membership fee and figured maybe this would at the least, be a resume booster, so I filled in my info online. This was about 3 weeks ago. Today I received a phone call around 10am on my cell (an odd time to be calling during the work day) I took the call since I happened to be home sick and spent about 20 minutes on the phone with a gal named Joyce- who was, as you stated, stroking my ego telling me how great I was- this reminded me of the Whos Who scam I almost fell for about 2 years ago. What struck me was the East Coast accent- totally sounded just like the Whos Who lady! That’s honestly what gave me a red flag to this woman. Since I am home sick and a bit bored, I let her ramble on and objected to each of her attempts to sell me on an outrageous annual price… first she told me the elite membership was $649 a year and the premium was ONLY $449… then after that it would only be $99… Of course every time I said no she continued to drop the price $289, $189, then down to $89 for a trial year..but promised the same benefits. The funny thing is she promised all these seminars and webinars and networking… she really didn’t have anything that would be worth what she was asking. I told her if I wanted to attend a webinar I could just google it and find one for free and networking on Linked In and Facebook happens for free… I honestly did not see the benefit of this paid membership. After I got her off the phone (without giving her my credit card info- but bless her heart she tried) I looked up NAPW scam and this blog and several others came up. Ladies do not Fall for this scam. No membership should be $649 annually.
    Thanks for posting this blog!!! Also she gave me a number I haven’t tried it but maybe some of you trying to get your money back can give it a shot: 866-540-6279 her name was Joyce and her extension was 108. Maybe she can get you in touch with someone to give you a refund! Good luck!

  115. thank you very much for the time you took to write this up and inform us. I just tore up the invitation I got in mail the other day from them. I went on line to follow the process to see what this was all about and something told me to do a random web search and see what’s up with them. I found your article and glad I didn’t fill out the form on line either. You saved me a lot of trouble and I was worried they may try calling me after I filled form out. So thank you again. Toni

  116. I joined this group on LinkedIn, somewhat randomly. They called (again and again and again!) to “vet” me for membership. I obliged, thought it wasn’t a big deal. Told “Kelly” all about my work, professional life, etc. Then she hit me up with the fee said it’s “795” – I thought she meant per MONTH like my Netflix or something. Just says “so you can start with your cc expiration.” When I realized it was $795.00 I said no thanks, she told me she had already processed my information and couldn’t go back? Ridiculous. Just left her a message telling her kindly to never call back!!

    Thanks for writing and for everyone else’s input.

  117. I received a call this morning and had my interview and i was APRROVED for membership. Approved right there on the phone-no board approval or peer review. You would have thought I was applying for an AMEX card. The phone consultant knew nothing of my accomplishments- her eye was on the prize her “sale”. She never missed a beat, moving down the deflection ladder, $995, $795, $595, $495,$295, $99 for the trial. In the end, she received nothing and I will have nothing but time wasted.
    Michelle- if you are still out there- Thank you for sharing and allowing the other amazing women to share as well. I do think this would be a great way to start a networking group. It is a shame- it sounds like we all wanted to be part of a bigger group.
    I too was given a phone number 866-540-6279-in case I changed my mind.
    I am waiting on my complimentary membership email- I won’t hold my breath.

  118. WOW! Do I feel like a chump! I actually contacted NAPW online several months ago about joining. It looked like a good networking organization, and I thought I’d join, expecting the membership to be $100-$200. There was no information on the website, so I filled out my name, etc., and within days a very fast-talking, friendly woman named Jennifer called to say she needed to interview me before running my application through administration. Boy, was she smooth. I never got to ask about the price of membership or ask any questions. Finally, she said that because of my experience she was authorized to accept me as a member immediately. Then the zinger – $699!! But that was for an elite membership, which would include featuring me in their newsletter and other enticements, which I don’t remember now. I fell for it and gave her my credit card. Then I researched the membership in my area and realized it is not really the group of executive women that I thought, and I have never gone to a meeting.

    Today I got the “I am thrilled to tell you that you’ve been selected as 2012 Woman of the Year in your field” call that so many of you have reported on. I was told that the committee had done extensive due diligence, and that I had been selected because of my leadership and success in my field. Well, who doesn’t get hooked in by that? The conversation was EXACTLY as Michelle described hers when first posting about this in 2010. The script has not changed at all…the mahogany-framed certificate and unlimited and free access to all the classes, workshops, webinars, etc. for only $995.

    Like Michelle, I said, “You’re asking me to pay for the award?” Oh no, said fast-talking Jennifer (must be the name they all use). This is only half the $1900 that the organization has to pay for these seminars, but for me, Woman of the Year, NAPW is generously absorbing half the cost, blah, blah. When I said I didn’t think so, Jennifer said, “If it’s a financial concern, I can put you through privately as a non-profit for only $445. I’ll explain the circumstances to administration.”

    I said I’d like to think about it and look through the course offerings. She said, “You’re asking for access to something which you have not paid for.” EXCU-UUUSE me?! That’s when I knew for sure that I had been had. Nope, I said. Not interested.

    Then I researched NAPW+SCAM on the web, and Michelle’s blog popped up.

    Guess I won’t be getting a mahogany-framed certificate either 🙂 Maybe we could start a NAPW Woman of the Year Facebook page. I bet there are thousands of us out there.

  119. So annoyed. This was an advertisement on my Linkedin Page so I figured why not and applied. She just called me at work and when she went into full interview mode (which was unexpected) I told her I am busy at work and to call me during my lunchbreak. I am seriously considering pulling a prank call (being a ghetto, obnoxious, and unprofessional) when she calls back just so they can delete me out the system and never call again.

  120. So frustrated and embarrassed to say I fell for this scam and got taken for a lot 3 months ago and then for a bit more today before I finally did some research. What makes it even worse is that I sought them out because I’m a military member who’s going to be transitioning out of the service in a few years and I’ve been focusing on Networking. I’d been so determined not to make any more stupid financial mistakes and thought the pricing was extreme at the time when I signed up but didn’t heed the alarm bells.

    “Lorane” then ambushed me while I was at work today with the whole woman of the year thing and being featured in a newsletter and I kept saying I couldn’t afford it and that they’d already gotten $1K+ from me when she then “lowered” the price for the 3rd time down to $450+ and split it into 2 monthly payments. There was no asking me if I agreed, just, “let me confirm that we have your credit card on file”. Then she kept saying “don’t worry…you’ll see…here’s my personal number and the extension you can reach me at”. Immediately after the phone call I try to call back and of course it goes straight to voicemail and there were no answers or people to talk to at any of their listed numbers (although I left numerous messages and sent multiple e-mails.

    Of course I got charged that first monthly payment before I got home. More freakin’ “stupid tax”. I thought when I stopped dating I wouldn’t make any more financial mistakes.

    Because I’m going through some other things right now I’m taking this a lot harder than I should be. I’m too old to be making mistakes and doing stupid stuff like this. 😥

  121. While I feel like a complete idiot for falling for this SCAM, I am somewhat comforted to know I am not alone. First thing in the morning I will begin the process of requesting a refund and/or disputing the charges with my credit company. Wish I would’ve seen this post first!

  122. I went through an interview as well, but didn’t give them CC, only because at the same time I Googled them and have found this website. For that, thank you. It was an exactly the same scenario that most people went through. It blows my mind that this sort of an organization exists.
    Is there any legit organization that helps women with networking? If not, lets start one NOW.

  123. I got as call too today, the same drill as everyone else starting from $989 to $99. but still did not take it, asked er if she would call me back on this and she refused to and said i can give you a complimentary membership. I decided to check this

  124. I am in the middle of “get a refund hell” with them. They put me on long holds 5 times. The girl they sent me too first say a refund was impossible and that the best she could do was to not renew it. Thanks to this post, I refuted that. she’s been very nasty, insisting that the $189 is already dispersed for my dues (which I never use; never logged in until today, have no time for this at all and want to “return” my purchase). She says she’ll see what she can do and get back to me by 5. I wonder. I’m still calling the cc company to dispute the charges, as well my friend Twitter and the BBB.

  125. Thank God for Citi Cards! They’ve heard of this group before and it was an automatic credit back to my card! No more nastiness with NAPW to get my money back! Whew!

  126. I’m just about to have a heart attack!! 😦 I wish I checked this blog before! I did fall for this and they charged me $1188!! She kept saying 989 for the membership and 199 for whatever that thing is. It didnt come to my mind that she meant hundreds not dollars until I checked my account! I’m already struggling -financially- !! There is NO WAY I can pay that! not in million years!!! Please tell me there is a hope that I will get my money back!!

  127. I called Discover right away, they opened a dispute and said they’ll start an investigation, but they encouraged me to call NAWP and try to cancel my membership which I did, and of course no one answered! I left a voice message and I sent them an email.. Let’s see how things go. Does anyone know if Discover are good at getting refunds?!

  128. October 3rd 2012. This was pure False Advertising. It was on transaction processed over a phone.The lady I spoke with said the number 789 as “Seven Eight Nine” which when you hear it, it is $7.89 vs. had she said “Seven HUNDRED Eighty Nine dollars, then one clearly understands that is $789. It was so miss-leading, and stupid action of mine to believe them. She even tried to sell other stuff. Call was short and intensive with questions. I am embarrassed to even say it has happened to me, one who is very careful with money. I figured the same day that I was scammed, and found out others examples of the similar experience by NAWP including your blog Michelle. I called immediately their customer service dept. @ 866-540-6279.The lady said: ”since you do not want to be our member, we do not want you to be our member”. She said she requested a full refund and I received it within 3 days.

  129. Despite telling this organization NOT to renew me at the end of the year and not to call me, they charged my credit card another $99.00, thinking, I suppose I wouldn’t notice. I took care of it with American Express. My question is that if you google yourself, you will come up as a member. Is there any way we can get rid of that? Thanks.

  130. Oh dear, I just got the same phone scam. Just got off the phone with the most obnoxious sales women I have ever meant. She “told” me she was going to charge my AmEx for $995. When I said WHOAH, she interrupted me and kept on talking. I finally said to stop, that I was not going to allow that. She then gave me the special lower rate for $495. I told her no, she kept talking over me, and I told her to stop interrupting me and let me talk. She got rude that I told her to quit interrupting me. I told her I would not authorize that payment and I would not be pressured into making that kind of decision in one phone call. She said that then I would be removed as the Woman of the Year. Seriously! This is not a professional organization, it is a money scam!

    • Can we start our own Facebook page BEWARE NAPW SCAM? Seriously. I just don’t know how FB works, but we have to do something to publicize this more. I am a former newspaper reporter and know this is a great story for someone. I’m thinking whom to approach about this. If anyone would be wiling to be interviewed for a story, please let me know. A reporter will want to know that there are sources willing to be quoted. You can contact me privately at

  131. I received info from them today but decided to look it up online first and after reading your post I just want to thank you for the heads up.. 🙂 Needless to say I will not be following for their scam thanks to you 🙂

    • The NAPW newsletter just came out. Look at the VIP list of Women of the Year. I didn’t count, but there have to be way more than 100 names. At $999 a pop, that’s a lucrative business.

  132. Thanks for this informative insight. I’m so glad I found it. Any ideas on LEGITIMATE associations professional women to join in the spirit of networking and self development?

  133. Excellent, you are the best! I give you my best congrats for having the courage to tell us how disgusting and UNPROFESSIONAL this organization is. Unfortunately I read this too, too late. Actually one month after they “renew” my membership, jajajaja. and take money out of my credit card.

  134. I wish I would have found your post months ago! I joined at the $99 rate, plus the $45 to “set up my profile”. I just wish I would have done more research, but she really made me feel accomplished! WOW.

    Then today, I got a the call to be “Woman of the Year” for my state. 1) I recently moved to a different state. 2) I only started working for my current employer 1 month ago. So this set off a few red flags. She tried to stroke my ego and explain the great award I was getting. Then the same thing happened to me. $1000 dollars. I freaked!. She talked it down to around $500. Still declined, then talked to down to two separate payments of $199. How can you be honored and have to pay for it?! NO WAY!

    ONE THING LADIES!! IF YOU DID JOIN, BE SURE TO CANCEL THE RECURRING CHARGE. I remember I did authorize a charge for next July of $99. After this call today, and reading this post.. I called their billing department 866-540-6279 to turn off any recurring charges.

    Don’t fall for this like I did! I feel like such a loser!! 😦

  135. Thank you very much Michelle! I am glad I found your post to confirm my suspicions!

    I saw their advertisement yesterday afternoon on Linkedin and decided to apply for membership since it said “free”. They called this morning to verify information and said that they are happy to accept me as a member. After about another 5 minutes of conversation, they asked me if I wanted to be a elite member or preferred member for $995 or $700+ (can’t quite remember the second one). When I resisted, she said she can offer me this deal for $495 (which is supposed to be for not for profit organizations only). I went further and said that as a business woman, I do not make monetary decisions right away and so I would appreciate it if I can think about it for a couple of days. She then had the guts to tell me I have to make the decision now because they do not go back and forth with memberships! I mean, what kind of reputable organization will force you into membership? After that she went even further and said she can offer me a membership for $99 a year (which she said was supposed to be only for 6 months). This is when I found your blog on google and read your article. After finish reading your article and (which by the way she continued to persuade me with the membership), I politely declined and accept the free complimentary membership listing which I am sure does absolutely NOTHING.

  136. Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely
    long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly
    enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any suggestions for inexperienced blog writers? I’d
    really appreciate it.

  137. Thank you for saving my time and energy! It’s a shame that there are people out there that want to take advantage of those that just want to improve their lives! Have you discovered any groups that are worthy of your trust?

  138. I should have checked the web better before answering their email today. I will reject all communication from them be it phone, mail or email. Now I know, Thanks so much Michelle!

  139. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

  140. Thank you for telling the true story of these type of companies. NAPW was at the top of a Linkedin page so it seemed legtimate. I decided to check it out anyway and I am glad I did look into it. You saved me from making a costly mistake. This link said for “Senior Women free subscription”. While I do not consider myself a senior (although I am an AARP member), a lot of potental employers do and see me as “over-qualified”. When I saw the NAPW on Linkedin I thought this would be a great way to network.

    Thank you again for not let them bully you into removing the truth.

  141. Hello there, I do believe your site could possibly be having internet browser compatibility issues. When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, excellent website!

  142. Thank you !! received an “invitation” in the mail. I am always looking for opportunities to network and meet potential clients but tend to err on the side of caution with anything which looks too good. I googled and found your article, I appreciate your honesty, how refreshing!! Honesty and integrity is something hard to come by in business these days.
    Gaye Herrero

  143. NAPW – Same thing. First VIP membership now a call for Woman of the Year for $995, even suggesting I register it with Library of Congress (no, I have not won the Nobel prize.) Really sad to realize what it’s all about. Women taking advantage of women. Hmmm. That doesn’t feel good to think about.

  144. This just happened to me. Exactly how you outlined the conversation. The woman on the phone turned nasty and sounded insulted that I would not
    “pay for my award” as I saw. In fact towards the end of the call she hung up on me. I became a member last year (trial for $89) and actually saw no value in this group at all, and rarely went on the site. I was proud that I stayed in my inner calm and it was her that ended up angry – not me. I was more annoyed- I guess and blown away.

  145. Add me to the list of suckers who listened to the entire schpeele until…you got it..the tires screeched when I heard $789-989 fees. When I told the lady I was on their website as she was speaking and saw the FREE membership and to go ahead and toss me into that bucket…suddenly the phone went dead. She hung up on me. No legit organizaiton solicits membership fees this aggressively. I clicked on the ad from LinkedIn. Don’t waste your time.

  146. I just had a very similar experience. The ego stroking was very nice, the woman I was speaking too was so pleasant, and then came the cost (30min later!). I explained no, no the Elite membership for ~1K isn’t for me… no, no the Preferred membership for ~800 isn’t for me… no, no the whatever membership for 500 isn’t for me… oh you have a trial for $100 that you’ll extend to me for a year… let me look into it and call you back. She wasn’t thrilled with that!
    You know what really gets me, besides having wasted the last 30 min on the phone with her, is that some of the members within the local chapters are probably doing good and helping each other despite the corrupt nature of the organization. Unfortunately, I will never know or be a participant.

  147. I actually joined this organization a few months back. Ever since then, they have been calling me to “feature” me in their newsletter and on their website. Today, I got this call again and was also offered the $995 “award”! I was suspicious from the start because why should I be selected as “Woman of the Year” if I haven’t actually accomplished anything during this past year that would warrant such a high honor and, most of all, why should I be selected when the organization didn’t know anything about me (which was clear from the questions the friendly woman asked)? What bothers me the most is that due to my initial membership, they now have my credit card on file!

  148. I just emailed NAPW customer service at to complain and insist that they NOT renew my membership when it comes up for renewal.

    Got this reply from B Clerkin:
    We were dismayed to receive your e-mail telling us how uinhappy you were with the call from our VIP department. We do take such criticism very seriously and it will be addressed. We do not wish the experience to prevent you from taking advantage of your member benefits while your membership remains active. As a member of the local NYC chapter, you are part of one of the most dynamic groups in the entire association, and the chapter which seems to have the most fun. We do hope that you continue to attend the meetings when your schedule permits.

    As per your request, I have turned off the automatic renewal in your membership, so your membership will expire on June 30, 2013. You will receive an e-mail reminder with instructions on how to renew your membership should you wish to do so.


  149. Oh my .. I wish I did my research before joining this organization. I fell victim to the same scheme! I was so flattered that I was chosen as ‘Woman of the Year’, but very leary since I really couldn’t have imagined what I could have done to deserve such an ‘honor’. I have just recently joined the group, have not completed any profiles on myself and have not ever attended a meeting of theirs. After getting suckered into the 25 minute phone call, and being asked to pay $995 for my award, I told the lady I was not interested. She told me she was very suprised and has never received that reply from anyone before (it must have been her first day on the job, lol!!). Then she asked me if it was a monetary reason (even though it’s 2 weeks before Christmas), and I told her I most definitely have the extra $995 to spend, but I’d rather spend it on my family than on an award. She then started to get annoyed by me, and told me ‘she was not trying to be mean’, but she can’t believe I am turning this award down. Ugh, I am making sure this is my one and only year with them

  150. I shredded the invitation I received to join today – thanks for sharing your story. I don’t understand why Star Jones would be a spokeswoman for this organization which doesn’t seem to benefit women?

  151. You will not believe this , i just got off the call with them before reading this blog i found online.I was appreciated for my accomplishment and offered the membership for 900+ i was shocked.So i told them thats too much for me since i had a newborn a month ago my decisions on money need to be worked.
    Suddenly there was an offer for $400 , then it went down to $148 and then $99.
    When i did not agree for any of those and mentioned i need to think about it , the person on the otherwise seemed a bit mad.She started asking me if she knew that i would think about the fee she would have not conducted the interview …so on and so forth.
    When i read this blog everything was deja vu…because she spoke about the award , newsletter , logo and so on and so forth.
    I work for a good organization in Socal and have been a part of the Women in Technology group locally and agreed to try this when someone recommended.
    The thing that striked me odd was the women on the phone was very mad when we did not agree to join.Does she know how much is $100 in this economy and $900+ is a large amount…

    Thank you for the blog and the folks who have commented , i dont feel like a fool anymore

  152. Here is the question i ask myself that most should be. How is their merchant account provider letting them get away with this. Most merchants will cancel your account if you get 2-5 chargebacks, they probably get that a day. This is the real science to their business model. Costa Rican merchants maybe?

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  154. I recall being contacted by mail, too. Naturally, the first place I went after receiving the letter was to the Internet. The information I found was mostly negative. This organization is now advertising on LinkedIn. A lot of unsavory advertising is now allowed on LinkedIn and that is something that infuriates me. BTW, I was born in Brazil and there is a famous composer there called, Heitor Villa-Lobos. And, yes, unlike Spanish we pronounce the in Vee-lah-loeboes. 🙂

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  156. I must say that I am so incredibly thankful you have this post up! When I googled “NAPW reviews” and “NAPW Complaints” you were the only source I found trustworthy. Thank you!

    Also I have been browsing around and am now addicted to your blog 🙂

  157. I had my credit card ready! i was willing to pay for a membership to access a country wide net work of professional women so I could net work and find a better job…something told me to hold back, especially when the price I was quoted was $ 995.00! I told the lady I would check things out (after all I can not attend meetings that are two hours from here) and at that point she just got rude. I actually told her I wanted to see what kind of net work they had and she said I could not access it unless I paid for the membership, So….thank you for this blog! I am pretty sure you just saved me from a hugh mistake although Chase visa is the best i have ever worked with but I think they even have a limit to their understanding of my mistakes or ability to fall victim to unethical people. Again, that you! They targeted me as soon as I got on Linked In just to let you know.

  158. I signed up last year after seeing an advertisement on 4 months ago a sales person called me stating that I had been CHOSEN as VIP woman of the year, of which I shelled out an additional 5oo+ dollars for. She called, again, last month trying to sell me something else, but I’d caught on by then.

    Yes, you get a real award, a huge plaque, which probably cost nothing to produce compared to the 1K I’ve paid them this past year. But the VIP Woman of the Years is simply advertising sales. You pay them to advertise your profile on their site. I’ve received no business from that.

    I’ve just attended my 2nd meeting. I’ve realized that this is not the organization for me. I don’t know if I’ll have anything to offer, but I’ll just ride it out and try to reap the benefits of the Stars program and other free info on the site. I’m not sure if I’ll rejoin, but this organization is for a certain type of professional.

    From my understanding, NAPW is something like 6 or 7 years old. There is some false advertisement going on, making people think they’ve been exclusively selected for their accomplishments, when that isn’t the case. They prey on the gullibility and desperation of women who want recognition, even if by the cheap, quick, lazy, non-credible way. The crazy thing is that many women in the organization are highly credible, as are many of the featured and VIP women. But, the joke’s on those women who are less credible, less accomplished, who buy-into ‘VIP’ membership. You’re chosen as a sales revenue prospect, not because of your accomplishments.

    • I found the same thing on I signed up to receive information about the “Who’s Who” thing and it was long before I recceived a phone call. They offered me everything under the sun, including a reduced price for my membership. When I declined the offer, the lady on the phone became arrogant and very pushy. At this point, we’d been on the phone for 10-15 minutes (while I was at work). Once I realized this was probably a scam, I immediately attempted to end the call. Well, she “kept her foot in the door” by offering to send me a free certificate for something or other in the mail. I ended up hanging the phone up on her, mid sentence. First of all, she knew I was at work, on company time. Any legitimate company would never prolong a conversation after being told, “I am at work and very busy so I have to go. You are wasting my time.” Second, I’ve yet to receive my free “whatever it was for” certificate from “Who’s Who” in the mail. The only thing I have received is a congradulatory letter about my membership being approved for the NAPW, which went right into the trash.

  159. The people who run this think make bank. The local chapter will hold events at expensive restaurants and NAPW won’t even cover the meals.

  160. Same thing happened to me yesterday from Cambridge who’s who’s. I fell for napw. I asked for my $199 back and they never gave it to me. That was 10 minutes after I got off with them the first time. With Cambridge I kept telling them I was in my car and the lady kept asking me for my credit card.

  161. Thank you all for these postings. They helped me confirm my suspicions when I finally paid attention to what I wasn’t getting. I too was offered “Woman of the Year” award in my field after just a few months of membership, and this finally roused my suspicions. The cost was going to be $900 but went down to $500! I have removed the name and logo from all of my marketing materials. From the beginning, I could have questioned their expensive ads on LinkedIn and the like, and I should have looked to see whether they are a true NFP industry association or just raising salary money. And I am quite sure that Star Jones is not working for free! I also learned that local chapters are not viable in my area, and not supported by NAPW. Women who want to network have many legitimate associations to go to; NAPW isn’t one of them.

  162. I was a “sucker” with Cambridge Who’s Who. They received almost $800.00 from me but, then, they wanted even more for my name in a plaque and advertising me in the community I lived in. Unbelievable!!! I was so naive and really thought I was getting something. Never again.

    How much does it actually cost for a membership with NAPW without the added bonuses they are claiming such as woman of the year.

    Woe to us who think that any exposure in networking with professional does not come at a high cost in membership dues with what type of results.

  163. Sandy, I was a sucker and paid $700-$800 (I have tried to forget!) to JOIN. It still makes me sick. A few months later I got the amazing news that I had been selected Woman of the Year — for only $995. I couldn’t be fooled twice. The salesperson was so rude and ending up hanging up on me just as others have said.

    Recently, I emailed NAPW with a rather nasty note demanding that my membership NOT be AUTOMATICALLY renewed. I suggest anyone who has joined do that because the memberships are on automatic renewal unless you change it. They will charge your credit card again.

    Here is the reply that I received from B. Clerkin at NAPW:

    We were dismayed to receive your e-mail telling us how uinhappy you were with the call from our VIP department. We do take such criticism very seriously and it will be addressed. We do not wish the experience to prevent you from taking advantage of your member benefits while your membership remains active. As a member of the local NYC chapter, you are part of one of the most dynamic groups in the entire association, and the chapter which seems to have the most fun. We do hope that you continue to attend the meetings when your schedule permits.

    As per your request, I have turned off the automatic renewal in your membership, so your membership will expire on June 30, 2013. You will receive an e-mail reminder with instructions on how to renew your membership should you wish to do so.

    • I am a member of Who is Who and their “$800-sucker award”. I could have bought Chanel shoes instead. Oh, well. We are helping “our sisters and brothers” make money.

  164. I almost fell for them today, but after finding this blog post, I didn’t, and I want to thank you for that. After reading some of the comments here, I’ve figured out that they’ve probably hired someone in reputation or brand management to scrub negative reviews.

    I found their page on Yelp, and there are a few people who write more than 2000 words about how great the place is, usually right after a slew of negative reviews and these reviews are typically from what I see the only reviews these people write. One person who wrote a recent positive review has three other comments, all ludicrous, and all in the same hour. That person has yet to write anything else.

    It is common knowledge that, for the most part, Yelp cannot be trusted, since its so simple to buy reviews from freelancers. I don’t know how many requests I’ve received from potential clients wanting a quote on 10 positive Yelp reviews, or 100 negative reviews “for my competitor,” etc. I just wish there was some way to prove that this is what NAPW is doing, as I think proof plus a well written news article exposing their tactics would hurt them enough to get them shut down.

  165. I got the letter today and decided to research i found your blog and read i took the return letter wrote scam on it and sent it back i do that with all the scams i get so that they know were on to them thank you for saving this nieve woman i so would have bought into it.

  166. I just got taken…….hung up the phone and got a sick feeling in my stomach – trying to get my money back now! wish me luck…….these people really are masters of scamming!

    • Hello, Mary. I hope you’re calling your credit card company right away?! I have put in a disputed charge inquiry to my cc company; told them that I incurred the expense after being misled about the services offered. Good luck!

  167. I received a call today (at work) from my “acct. coordinator” at NAPW introducing herself to me. She interviewed me for about 15 minutes, was very pleasant and shared my enthusiasm about my acceptance into the NAPW organization. Everything sounded WONDERFUL until I was offered a few different memberships that seemed to cost a small fortune.

    Since this would be considered a professional fee (charged on my company P-card), I wanted to run the pricing by my supervisor first. After explaining to my account coordinator (3-4 times) that I wasn’t going to make the purchase until my supervisor was back from vacation, she finally got it that I wasn’t going to make any type of purchase today.

    In closing, after reading through many of the posts on here, I can say that I am ecstatic (as well as disappointed) to find out the truth about NAPW. I giant THANK YOU goes out to Michelle Villalobos, as well as all of the ladies who have posted on here.

    Good luck to everyone!

  168. The funny thing is the exact same situation happened to me this morning in my office. I attempted to join NAPW through LinkedIn. Today I received a call from my account coordinator who was very nice to me until she started giving misleading membership information. I specially asked her was this a one time charge for the membership, she replied yes. However, before the conversation was over she politely told me that they would be charging me an annual membership, which to my surprise I was floored. They almost had me until the conflicting information from the account coordinator, after about 20 minutes on the phone, I realized that NAPW is a scam and I don’t want to be affiliated with an organization that misleads its members.

    Thanks for starting this blog regarding this FAKE Organization!!!!

  169. So thankful I found this today. I foolishly applied online after receiving an invitation in the mail. They’ve been trying to reach me by phone over the last few months. I took the call this past Thurs and wow, what you described is exactly what happened. When she got to the part of the membership cost, I asked her to repeat what she had just said. Then she quickly let me know that a basic membership would only run $189. Thankfully, I told her I would need to discuss this with my business partner & for her to call back in a few days. She’s in for a flat out “no”! Thanks for the info!

  170. I am in the process of opening a caribbean restaurant,and i dont know where thesd peoplegot my number from.They called me today they are so smooth and then they ask me for my credit card number to charge me $1000.00 wtf? Then when i told her i was not interested she try to lower it

    down to $189.00 lady go to hell i hung up,no thanks id rather deal with my chamber of commerce

  171. Thank you for this! It saved me more heartache and a lot of money. I too got suckered by this, thinking wow this would be so helpful to help me network, especially in this economy.

  172. Thanks for the blog, when I started investigating them… and the many comments from others… Yes, we women stick together!!!! Kudos to all of you!
    Yep, my story is almost exactly like yours… she interviewed me, said she wanted to record it as well, to feature me in next month’s publication. This was after she told me I had been awarded the Executive Woman of the Year stuff… then smooth as silk, she soon started going into verification of my credit card… whoa…. what gives? I told her I had already allocated all monies for the next 2 months to help others in need in this horrible economy… even with partial payments for 3 months I was not conceding… then soon after we hung up. Guess I shall never receive my certificate suitable for framing, huh???
    Oh well… when you get lemons, make lemonade! I plan to add this to my signature block, my website http:/, perhaps LI: Suzanne Babbio, @30foreverdotnet, FB and more… why not? It sounds prestigious… lol… I highly recommend all others who have been hijacked by this company do the same… and do the BBB thing as well.
    And yes, I am utterly dismayed to learn their cunning has affected so many others. I’m with you… pay for an award?? Uh uh… But thanks for the award… BYE!!

  173. Success! I was able to get my money back (789 fee + $99 other fee) and would like to share how I did it in the hopes that others can do the same. THANK YOU, Michelle Villalobos, for your blog. It gave me the push and the encouragement to pursue this. I would like to offer a bit of advice on how to communicate with these folks.

    First, I wrote an email letter to Jane Reeser in Membership Services, stating that I was unhappy with my membership and wanted a refund. I stated that membership in the NAPW was detrimental to my professional reputation, due to the organization’s misleading marketing practices. I also mentioned that I was willing to take legal action but hoped it wouldn’t come to that. Ultimately after a few back-and-forth phone messages, I spoke with “Ben” who I think was in the accounting department.

    Ben was a bit argumentative and challenging, and obviously an experienced salesman. I explained that the two main marketing programs that they use were deceptive: One, you don’t really have to qualify to join, and two, the “awards” are not real in the sense that they are paid for, not earned. He said both impressions were wrong. He demanded to know where I got negative information about NAPW. When I mentioned this blog he was very critical of Michele Villalobos, claiming that she offers similar services to NAPW yet critices NAPW. This is a red herring argument designed to change the topic, so I ismply responded that many dozens of women had left similar complaints on the site.

    Then he asked me why I should object to simply being marketed a service from an organization I had joined — referring to their phony “Awards” program. He also said he was offended to be told that the organization he works for is dishonest. Again, both topics are simply distractions; responding would only get you into a useless argument. I simply reitereated that I am an unhappy customer who feels mislead and wants her money refunded. Since he clearly understood that I was in touch with this blog and other complaints, he no doubt gathered that I would report my negative experience with NAPW and add to the bad press, so I did not make any threats along those lines.

    Then, Ben said they would refund my money. I had already put in a complaint to my credit card company, which had temporarily suspended the charge. About a week after my conversation with Ben, I got notice that the entire amount had been permanently credited back to my account!

    In summary: stay calm, don’t argue, insist on your right to a refund as an unhappy customer. And keep warning other women to check on any professional organization before joining, to make sure that its true purpose is to help its members, not profit from them.

  174. I am an Electronics Technician at a laboratory that ships products to 32 different countries around the world. Yesterday, I also was on Linkedin where NAPW has adds on the side of the page. I kept seeing the adds and finally clicked on their link to see what they had to offer. What can it hurt to network with other professional women? Once I filled out the application, it read that a representative would contact me about it. I thought that it was odd that someone would need to call me about a membership to a club/association. The term “representative” should have been a clue, but I still did not research the “Association” further because I was busy at work. To be honest, I completely forgot I filled out the application until the representative called me this morning at work. My boss answered and passed on the call. I told her that it was not a good time, so we rescheduled for 1 PM this afternoon. I remembered reading about different levels of membership, so I decided to Google the membership costs. Glad I did because my search led me to this article. Now that I know there are “Associations ” out there that do this, I will make sure that I do more research before giving out my contact information. I will be ready for the pitch when she calls back.

    • Good for you, Diane! You mention an aspect that we could all be alert to: the costs are extraordinarily high for a professional association. I belong to the National Speakers Association, for example, which is about half — and when someone is accomplished enough to win the true honor of an award, there is no fee for that!

    • I have been reached by Who is Who thru an add on Linkedin too. I even cancelled my application half-way, but surely enough got a call from them next morning. (It should not work that way.) Being busy, I agreed on their offer and lost about 800 dollars for nothing. Very similar scheme. All these exposure actually can hurt you instead of helping. I wonder if Linkedin can be hurt by these activities too? Personally, I have cancelled my Linkedin account.

  175. wow. i fell for this a couple weeks ago, but have been feeling upset and stressed and embarrassed ever since. Of course I haven’t received ANYTHING from them–not even the fabled welcome packet. For this much money I’d expect exemplary services. I’m on the phone with Wells Fargo right now; they’re working on reversing the charges.

    I’ll be posting this story on LinkedIn, FB etc. I encourage us ALL to do the same!! Absolutely unethical in every way I can think of. And in the name of women… They may need to create a new circle of hell for these people!

  176. I agree with Nancy and others that we should warn other women when possible. I just got email about the upcoming NAPW conference and have sent messages to a couple of the speakers. I doubt they can be aware that so many women feel scammed; hopefully they will take time to check out NAPW and not wish to be associated with it. Perhaps this is how we can help.

    • thanks Maureen! Yes, I’m guessing most speakers, including celebrities like Martha Stewart, don’t even know about these issues or they’d avoid connecting themselves with a group with practices like these.

      You can recommend to people that if they just google “National Association of Professional women complaints” they’ll see all the evidence they need.

      (Just for starters: they’re not accredited by the BBB. They’ve had 231 BBB complaints against them in the last few years (for, predictably: advertising & sales, problems with product & services, and billing). I’m guessing they maintain their “A” ranking in BBB by resolving those many complaints to people’s satisfaction, while hundreds of other women don’t make official complaints. They have a “yelp” rating of just 1. You can find articles on their practices in “the ripoff report” and, along with dozens of other blogsites.)

      Please share! Nancy

  177. an update I hope will help all of us:

    1) my bank (Wells Fargo) was very supportive and helpful, and was prepared to reverse the charges. They told me I first needed to contact NAPW and give them the chance to do the right thing.

    2) I called the representative, Joyce, who’d gotten me into this mess. I recorded the whole conversation. After 10 minutes of holding my ground she said she’d have someone in accounting call me within 24 hours.

    3) this morning Ben (not sure if he was in accounting–he mentioned seeing that I’d been posting comments on the internet about NAPW) called. He was calm, reasonable and did agree to reverse ALL the charges ($1287 altogether–for membership, plaque and profile fee) within 3-5 business days.

    So a satisfactory outcome for me. BUT some important things to note:

    while Ben was very accommodating, he did give me some inaccurate information, and it’s important that I had done my homework!:

    1) he said that there are “rumors” about NAPW sales techniques on the internet, “a few” of them, and said that they’re from “competitors” and “disgruntled former employees.” I replied that there are hundreds of accounts, the details of which match the facts of my experience exactly, and that I’m neither a competitor nor a disgruntled employee.

    2) he said that, while there are complaints on the internet, they’re years old, as the company has changed its sales techniques. I was able to say (based on my research) that no, there are plenty of postings even in 2013. (see, for example, this conversation here…)

    A couple other things:

    –He said that that women CAN get their business listed for FREE through NAPW, as we’ve all seen in writing in the initial post card. I let him know that Joyce never mentioned that on the phone.

    –He confirmed that the BBB did drop NAPW’s rating to an “F” at one point. They changed it back to an “A” after NAPW submitted more materials on the entire amount of members, etc.

    –He said the NAPW has a “no toleration policy” on these matters. Good to know.

    I wish all of us success in standing up for ourselves. If we do our research, share information and exercise our voice and rights, we can protect ourselves in important ways. Thanks so much to Michelle for a blog posting that’s been such an important resource!

    • Excellent! Nancy had the right approach, in my opinion. I too got all my money back, and posted about it earlier. I advise everyone to notify their bank or credit card company that they were misled, request an adjustment, then call NAPW and stick to the main point: you are an unsatisfied customer. There is no benefit to arguing, and the criticism of NAPW can wait until after you get your refund.

  178. I wish i had read this before i sent my info in to the NPWA – and then received a VERY hard “welcome – we want your money” call – totally bogus!!!

  179. This exact think happened to me today, it was so obvious the woman was reading a script, and I, like you kept listening. I told her I’d like to investigate the company more before giving any money, and she said “No we make this offer only at the point of acceptance” . So funny! I finally had to hang up on her as she was not veering from script! Rediculous.

    • robyn – me too! i told her, i don’t mean to be rude but i really have to go – don’t know how anyone can do that job….

      • Once I had a call from a solicitor alike and asked her where she was calling from. She said she didn’t know. What? She said she was driving across the country – saw an add and got the job. ????

  180. Got my call today! Did the Search: I think my lowest offer was 99.00 trial member ship! Very good but way to high – they should offer monthly payments and that would close more sales Price Point should be $15-$30 per month! Read their Privacy Policy: Section 3. A. to includes the sales of the membership list: they also sell your information so opt out: here:

    Thanks Michele for blogging about this way back! You did show up for in a google search for NAPW memebership you were right on top under their sponsored links

    • The thing is though, that you literally get nothing from their ‘membership”. They don’t even send you the e mail they claim they will when they get you to sign up. Why would you want to pay even one dime if you’re literally going to end up with nothing to show for it?

      I’ve seen their facebook page, and it just looks so fake and posed.

      I’m sure even with all the women who get their money back, this fake company is still making a lot of money, because for every one woman who realizes it was a scam and demands a refund, there are others who signed on for the lower priced packages who end up dismissing it.

      They count on that, I bet.

      • Oh yes they are definitely con artists. I received a call last year and they had every word prepared to build my ego. I joined – $200. Next they called to tell me that I was going to be their ‘woman of the year’, or something. Only upwards of $1,000. The caller kept lowering the amount until I shut her down. About one month ago I noticed a charge on my acct. of $199.00 – I told the bank that it was an unauthorized charge. But that closed my debit card, Capital One Bank did not let me know that. I had to get another debit card. Just a pain. Then I emailed NAPW to cancel membership, a woman called to tell me how sorry she was, there were so many services available – which was totally untrue. Who would we talk to about this – I was too embarrassed to let anyone know in my office that I was so dumb.
        Thanks to you at least we can talk about it..

      • There is nothing to be embarrassed about! Predatory companies and scam artists can appear very legitimate at first. They play their game well and can sucker in even the most intelligent, savvy person if they seem legit enough.

        I made this blog so everyone can discuss and share their story if they have been scammed by any company. Some people have been taken for thousands of dollars, and I do not feel that enough is done by our law enforcement to stop it. I am not referring specifically to NAPW in that, but in general. Companies and fake companies alike get away with far too much.

  181. Got my call today! Did the Search: I think my lowest offer was 99.00 trial membership! Way to high – they should offer monthly payments and that would close more sales Price Point should be $15-$30 per month! Read their Privacy Policy: Section 3. A. to includes the sales of the membership list: they also sell your information so opt out: here:

    Thanks Michele for blogging about this way back! You did show up in a Google search for NAPW membership you were right on top under their sponsored links :: correction on typos thanks!

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  183. I just got off the phone with the NAPW with a very similar experience. However, I requested the membership materials in writing. The lady refused and quickly got off the phone with me before I was able to retract my “complimentary membership”. I want NO part in the NAPW and think that it is a major disservice to women.

    • Just a quick update: I was able to speak to someone via NAPW’s main line to request my name be removed from their membership. We’ll see if they follow through.

      • Update #2: I received one more call from NAPW. I explained that I wanted to be removed from their mailing list and had already requested it. The person apologized and said it wouldn’t happen again. It hasn’t to date.

      • Update #3:
        I originally found NAPW via Linkedin. I’ve sent them the following message. (you are welcome to use my letter as an example)

        Dear Linkedin:
        In March I clicked on a banner ad on your website that offered a free trial membership with the National Association of Professional Women. I was nearly swindled out of $800 for their membership fee. I thought the organization was an advocacy group, but they are nothing more than unsuccessful version of Facebook. More importantly, their recruitment tactics are underhanded. Please do women a service and discontinue all NAPW ads.
        -Tricia Hedahl

  184. Yep, I`d been sucked of 800 bucks for Who is Who. And 12,000 bucks for another cause. Embarrassing to admit. Are there any honest philanthropic organizations who make their living thru the talent not solicitation? I am glad to discover these comments prior to getting too excited about another “lousy” opportunity. You know, dear ladies, lets start one. Are there other ways to be together and do things together without all that b….t. Or not?

    • Natasha, I belong to American Association of University Women (takes an AA or higher). Also, check into the Chamber of Commerce in your area. Or Rotary Club, Toastmasters, Soroptimist Club, or Assistance League. Even the Red Hat Ladies if you’re over 50 do more good.

      • Mary- great ideas! Thanks for sharing. I’ll check out the American Association of University Women. Just to add to the list, here in Sacramento, CA Junior League is very active (and a bit exclusive). I’m not a member, but gave a presentation to them a few years ago.

  185. NAPW is a rip-off organization. For those who fell prey to the $99 deal, and then decide the organization wasn’t even worth that, watch-out for the “automatic renewal for $199”!! Call to complain, they will so sweetly tell you that because you have been so nice to deal with they will give you a $100 credit. But they cannot refund the whole membership?? They can do $100, but not $199. Make sure you qualify everything about your membership; especially if you don’t want an automatic renewal.

  186. I have fell victim. I too was looking for an organization that would help me to network my business and link me with like minded women. Its amazing that this is ‘legal’. They took my $199 and then charged me an additional $99 for someone to do my profile for me…for what?! I got my money back on that one but have found absolutely NO benefit from being a member and its oh so embarrassing that I put them out there in a good light. I will be calling on Monday to see if I can cancel my membership to prevent the dreaded $199 renewal fee. Thanks for the advice ladies!

  187. Thank you from saving me from falling prey to the NAPW. Total scam… Between the pressure tactics, and the ego-stroking there is a big lesson to be learned. Thankfully, my credit card co. questioned the charge, and I was able to ‘undo’ the whole thing. What was I thinking? Ladies beware…

  188. Same thing happened to me today. I was willing to try for the $199 so I gave my CC info and then she started talking about all these other fees and I googled them. I told her I wouldn’t be joining now and would like to do more research and made her assure me the CC wouldn’t be charged which she did, unhappily. It better not be. Unreal.

  189. I got this today also, and have given a short flare of temper on Facebook. Facebook who, incidentally, puts their (NAPW) adverts as sponsored pages on their sidebars and news feed. Thankfully I figured out the scam before giving any CC info, because I had signed up on their website for more information on the ‘free’ package which obviously doesn’t exist. The woman was pushy, but not disrespectful, and after trying to get me to purchase 4 different packages, I told her to have a good day and hung up on her. Or, I thought I did. Turns out I had hit the home button and not the disconnect, so she got to listen to 15 minutes of my music and signing in for my doctors appointment before I figured it out and DID hang up on her. Fair’s fair, I think. 🙂

  190. The BBB are just as much con artists at these guys. And the BBB gives them an A rating, even though they have almost 300 complaints on file. Crazy.

    • I talked with a NAPW rep about the A rating. He told me that the BBB HAD changed it to an F at one point; then, since NAPW resolved its many, many complaints successfully, the BBB changed it back to an A. You can see the number of complaints on the BBB site, at least.

      As I see it, NAPW is willing to accept huge numbers of complaints, then they resolve them by refunding money, and thus keep their BBB ratings high. If enough women pursue the BBB complaint despite getting money refunded, we might be able to get somewhere.

      Those of you connected to the media: this would be a great story for an investigative journalist. Major negative exposure is the only way I see to get this org to change!

  191. I found it odd when I went to their website where they discuss their ‘organization’ yet they have a .com address. That says enough right there.

  192. Many years ago my boss received a phone call and follow up letter because some organization was going to feature me as a top executive (I was the office manager). He was so impressed that he paid the $200 and got nothing. I warned him at the time that I didn’t think there was anything good about it because we were not a public company and to be honest, while I worked hard and long hours, I hadn’t done anything to stand out to such an organization.

    He was embarrassed that he had fallen for the spiel and that he had not listened to me. He told me that he felt bad that I may have gotten my hopes up, (I admit I kind of did even though I had that feeling that it wasn’t real), So because he felt bad, I got a great lunch out of the deal and he learned his lesson. (In actuality so did I).

  193. Went online to join based on the Star power they had with Star Jones as a spokesperson. Thankfully, my virus alert program blocked their site. Then I decided to do a search and found your blog. Thanks.

  194. I was skeptical from the start, but filled out the online application anyways. I knew there was probably some sort of fee, but thought if it was going to be useful, like say SHRM (society for HR management). I didn’t give them my personal number, just both of my work numbers. They have since called both lines 6 times in the past two hours. I’m an HR Director, so I screen all unknown calls since they are 99% sales calls anyways. I googled the missed call (it was them) and happened across your blog. THANK YOU. I will not waste my time with them.

  195. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz respond as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. cheers

  196. Hi, I do think your site might be having internet browser compatibility
    issues. Whenever I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however,
    if opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that,
    fantastic blog!

  197. I had posted here a little while back about how I had gotten scammed & ripped off by these people in the past. Well, today in my inbox I received the good news that I have been accepted into the illustrious ranks of this sham club! Sheeesh! Do they ever stop???

  198. Thank you for the lovely article. Unfortunately, this firm is still In existence. I belonged to a Professional/Executive Women’s Association when I was in the military. We had monthly meetings and the total cost of membership – less than one hundred dollars per year. So, in all honesty, this association is not a good investment.

  199. NAPW!! Total scam. I too fell prey to them and became a member last year as I thought it would help with networking. I also was “awarded” Woman of the Year! I’m much too embarrassed to bring it to the office as I did NOTHING to receive this award other than pay the reduced fee of $295 (I guess I’m special). Today, I noticed a charge from NAPW for $199 on my credit card. This was the “automatic” renewal I supposedly approved a year ago when I became a member. I asked for a credit and was told they would issue a credit of $100 only. I basically had to threaten that I would get on Facebook, the internet, and utilize other websites to voice my complaints. The clerk on the other end of the phone concluded I was “not professional enough to be a member” and “cancelled my membership and all benefits” and will issue a full refund. Thank you Tracy at NAPW for recognizing I’m not a good fit for NAPW!!! No I just need to watch for the refund.

    • They did that to me too! Made unauthorized charges to my credit card. Watch out for these bastards…they will take you for everything you’ve got!

  200. Update to my story (Cindy, May 29, 2013 at 2:58pm)…After I was “not professional enough to be a member”, (and supposedly my membership benefits were cancelled and I should receive a refund), I just received an email from NAPW for A FREE MEMBERSHIP!!! (I feel so honored and special) Really?? Where is their quality control?? One day I’m not fit for their prestige membership, the next day they can’t wait to have me!!

    • Yeah…they waited a good year or so before they tried to lure me in again. Either they think I’m too stupid to remember or more probably they are stupid & forget who they have targeted in the past for their fraudulent scheme. Me thinks they’re working off of old data bases…which could mean they are too cheap to update or too broke (hopefully) to purchase new lists. Either way…they still suck!!!

  201. Sad to say I got roped into a similar con from Cambridge Who’s Who (and also shelled out a couple hundred bucks before I realized I’d been duped). I tried to refute the charge with my credit card company, but as you’ve said, what they’re doing is not technically illegal so ultimately there was no recourse other than to block any future attempts to charge me. Thanks for posting – hopefully it will help other women avoid getting sucked into scams like this.

  202. This might explain a lot.
    Matthew Proman serves as the Founder and President of The National Association of Professional Women…HELLO!!!

  203. On May 25th of this year I received an “invite” from these scammers after already getting ripped off a few years before, having reported them for unauthorized use of my credit card & all the other scam-deviousness that is their style. I commented on this up the thread.

    Well…today I receive yet another “invitation” from them! Can you believe that!? The nerve! For those who have not been so privileged:

    “Dear Valued Candidate,

    It is my pleasure to inform you that your 2013 membership has been approved in the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), the largest network of professional women in
    the United States.

    NAPW highlights and profiles the country’s most accomplished professional women in more than 200 industries and professions. We provide an exclusive and powerful networking forum
    for our valued members to communicate and achieve social and career success.

    Yes! I want to learn more about how I can be a part of NAPW – Apply Now. Visit the link above or below to secure your place in our network of more than 400,000 like-minded professional women. Upon receipt of your registration form, you will be highlighted among thousands of accomplished professional women. Membership enrollment is limited, so please submit your application within five business days. There is no fee to apply.

    On behalf of the NAPW, welcome to membership.

    NAPW Membership Services”


    • that “there is no fee to apply” says it all–there IS a very LARGE fee to be a member! I received my “crystal plaque” in the mail about a month ago, long after they’d refunded all the charges. I threw it in the trash where it belonged.

  204. This is the biggest scam I am yet to see in my entire professional career. Not only they take your money with all the promises of giving you all the “benefits” in return for the big bucks you are paying them but when you try to sign up for classes and CPE’s they make it extremely difficult. Not once I was able to do it. To be honest, what in fact made me think twice about this organization was the fact that the used Martha Stewart, an ex-convict, as one of their speakers at the National Conference. Huh?! What a way to show respect.

  205. I just got off the phone with NAPW. It was just like you said. When she first mentioned the $989, I asked her to compare/contrast that with the $789 option. When I said I wanted to do further research on the value for the dollar, she lowered it to $495. At this point, I Googled it to see if others had dealt with NAPW in this way, and this page was the first thing to pop up…I was reading/laughing about your post as I was listening to their spiel. Finally, she asked if $495 was a budgetary concern. I said that it wasn’t so much about the dollars but the benefit for the dollar. So she told me about a $199 package that is normally only extended NFP orgs. With this option I would have unlimited webinar access and 25% off of seminars. I asked what the seminars run and she told me $200, so that didn’t sound like a good deal. She asked if I would like to proceed with that option. I simply said, “No, thank you.” I don’t think she knew what to do with that…sounded a bit stumped. So she said, “Well you ARE entitled to a complementary memebership….yadda yadda yadda,” and thanked me for my time. What a strange way to do business.

  206. Just had a call as well, and I got the same instant approval after a quick interview. I was definitely not impressive on this interview either… 1. I’m at work 2. We did not set up a time to talk 3. I had no time to research this organization before she called, and had no clue what she was calling about at first. Basically, there’s no way I should have been approved for an elite organization based on my mediocre and short responses. After I was approved, the woman I spoke with told me that they couldn’t let me take some time to consider it before making a decision. The reason? They receive tens of thousands of applications per year and in order to keep their cost down they don’t allow call backs. WHAT??!! My response was, “well then I guess this isn’t happening” and then she promptly gave me her direct line to call back when I wanted to “upgrade” my free membership. Glad I came across this blog and read the similar stories before I handed over my credit card. Thanks for sharing, and disappointing that an organization with such potential is operating like a scam.

  207. I experienced the same scenario on Tuesday this week. When I did some investigation I called immediately and informed them that I didn’t want this membership. I do have some legitimate health issues that came up on Tuesday evening and I would prefer to spend that $1100 on medical bills. I have been calling for three days and get nothing but a voice mail. I will try contact through the Internet. Thanks for sharing your experience with me. I felt like a total fool about an hour after I got off the phone. I thought I was too intelligent to fall for something like this.

    I am so embarrassed. Well, live and learn.

    Park Ridge, IL

  208. Found your blog while on the phone with a NAPW rep…as the membership went from $900 to $199 the script unfolded and the reps’ cheerful demeanor became irritated that I was not going to spend a dime. So glad I found this and so happy to be done with that. Thank you.

  209. Thank you for this write-up! I too have gone through the same process you described, and as soon as they started to ask for money, I quickly became suspicious. I asked for her number and said that I would call her back if I were interested further. She kept telling me that this was a one time deal, and if I turned it down that the award would go on to someone else. Then I thought I’d toy with her a bit. I said that unfortunately I do not have any credit cards or methods of payment. She got anxious on the phone and said she’d wait on the phone while I went and got it. I said unfortunately there was no way I would be able to get it today. She was very persistent and after a little while of this back and forth I told her that I was interested but thank you for the call. I had to repeat myself a few times before I finally just hung up. Then in some research I found this blog which confirmed my suspicions.

    Also very well written. Thank you!

  210. I had a similar experience, which was why I did this search and found your great blog. I gave the poor woman on the other end a piece of my mind and let her know that I had no intention of being part of an organization with such questionable ethics. Not only did they waste my time, that type of dishonesty and lack of transparency is not reflective of anything I’d like to be associated with! What a disappointing scam.

  211. I just went through this last week . . . replied far up the thread. I did exactly what that person suggested, complained with BBB in NYS, emailed NAPW and while the charges went on my card over the weekend, when I just checked today, they have been credited back. THANK GOD! I will do more research next time, but if any of you ladies know of REPUTABLE groups, please let me know!

  212. Had a call with the woman who said she founded this organization 30 some years ago. They use some schmooze tactics and was wondering when the $ conversation would come up, it did 795 or 495 or 165$ and all the goodies, I told her it sounded to good to be true , she shared that Maria Shriver was with them, my thought, after 34 years and a founder, why would she be calling me?
    I declined and then found the scam posts,

    • The CEO of this organization is MALE. So what does that say about the so called “founder”???
      This from NAPW’s web site!!!
      Matthew Proman, NAPW President

      Matthew Proman is an entrepreneur with a bold, deliberate and highly infectious spirit.

      Matthew Proman serves as the Founder and President of The National Association of Professional Women. As an entrepreneur at an early age, many of Matthew’s best and most loyal clients were professional women, and he came to understand that a strong organization dedicated to the advancement of professional women could be of great assistance to the business and women’s communities. Soon thereafter, Matt Proman founded NAPW.

  213. I received an email today from NAPW re: my email I sent to them last week. They say my claims that they are not backed by the BBB:

    Your email, below, was just forwarded to me. I wanted to take a moment to correct your misimpression. NAPW does not advertise that it is “approved with” the Better Business Bureau. Rather, NAPW accurately displays its BBB rating.
    The BBB has two systems:
    (1) It rates all companies within each BBB office’s specific geographic area. In NAPW’s case, it gives us an “A” rating (which occasionally fluctuates between A and A-, depending on whether there are unresolved complaints in the process of being worked out). NAPW’s page is available at the BBB’s website: . Here, the BBB explains the reasons for NAPW’s rating:
    Reason for Rating
    BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.
    Factors that raised the rating for National Association of Professional Women include:
    Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
    Response to 250 complaint(s) filed against business.
    Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
    BBB has sufficient background information on this business.
    In other words, BBB has determined that NAPW has a low complaint volume for a business of its size and that we diligently address and resolve consumers’ complaints.

    (2) The BBB has a separate system of accreditation, which is also explained on the NAPW page linked above. There, the BBB explains that:

    Businesses are under no obligation to seek BBB accreditation, and some businesses are not accredited because they have not sought BBB accreditation. To be accredited by BBB, a business must apply for accreditation and BBB must determine that the business meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses must pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

    Once a company seeks accreditation, it must pay BBB an annual fee and pay a fee for each complaint that is lodged. Rather than waste funds on BBB accreditation, NAPW has opted to maintain its free listing and resolve complaints through BBB’s free mechanism, allowing NAPW to spend more on the products and services for its members.

    I apologize for your misunderstanding, but NAPW simply has never advertised that it is “BBB-accredited.” As such, your claims are false. I understand that you spoke with our billing department and that you were given a full refund. I expect that this matter will be deemed resolved, but ask that if you have any questions you please reach out to me directly. I will be happy to assist you.

    Chris Wesser


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  215. I still have the NAPW woman on hold, luckily my google skills are faster than my charge it instincts. Thank you for putting this blog up and leaving these comments!

  216. I just finished my interview with NAPW,.. got the same sales pitch. Thank GOODNESS, I also did not fall for it and did not give my credit card info despite the over 5 times she told me,.. “This is what we can do for you” The price went from $900 down to $99 every time I kept telling her I was not interested in paying today. Then she left me with an honorary membership and told me I would contacted again for payment later. I’m so glad to read all of your comments and know that I did the right thing. I will not be communicating with them in the future.

  217. Oh my gosh. I’m so stupid!!! I fell for it hook, line and sinker. Now they have my damn credit card and everything. I’d forgotten that I had filled out the application online because ot was so long ago. I don’t know why I even answered my phone since it came up as a private number either. Now I’ve got to figure out how to stop all of this and it’s freaking me out. Ugh! I could kick myself. Those of you that did get a refund was it as simple as calling them and asking for the money back?


  218. I’m so glad I read this… Just received an approved enrollment invitation for membership in the mail (no cost or obligation of course), for my commitment in my profession and employment at Eclectic Media (which is my own freelance design business that I just started months ago). Immediately my “Scam” radar went off, so I thought I’d search for some reviews. Yours is the first I found…and needless to say ‘rip rip – shred shred’ and into the trash it went.

    Thanks again!

  219. Wow! I’m so happy I did some research. I came across the NAPW on Linked In because I was looking for a way to network with other women, I thought it sounded perfect. They have a local meeting and I thought wow, I can meet other women like myself. After reading the thousand or so complaints on this site, I realized just how much of a scam they are. I’m really disappointed that a society that is supposed to help women, turned out to be nothing but a scam. Really disappointing. If anyone knows of any worthwhile organizations in the Seattle area, I’m all ears! Thanks again! Lisa J.

    • There should be an AAUW (American Association of University Women–AA or better required), an Assistance League, a Rotary Club, Toastmasters, or even a Friends of the Library (you have a gorgeous library in Seattle!). Good luck!

  220. Same here, just hung up with NAPW for their ” interview”, 3rd call from them, only got the infor via Linkedin, membership fee from $995 dropped to $99, I didn’t fall for it.
    I told her I need to do some research before I pay and she said they don’t do back and forth, I told her I will pass. Can’t believe they pull SCAM like this to all the professional women.
    Shame on them.

    • It now makes sense to me that they “don’t go back and forth” and make you commit on the call right after the interview. Because if you take the time to google them, you will read posts like this from the many disappointed and scammed women – and they know it! Ha!

  221. I am so glad your blog is here … I just received the same call that others have received with offers from $989 then $789 then $489 then $199 then Trial Membership for $99, then finally when I still wouldn’t budge, a complimentary membership where I will receive their newsletter. Thank you for the info!!! Note: The Call ID shows Private Caller when they call.

  222. I just went through exactly the same thing here in New York. My sales woman was Janette Zucker and she sure did try like hell to get me to fork over the money. And yes, they are masterful….the first 20 minutes she had me going on and on about how I took a failed business and brought it back to life and I was feeling rather special! Luckily, when she alluded to some discounts I would be privy to at local stores, I got skeptical. What do store discounts have to do with it??!!! SO underhanded.
    Anyway… I am trying to get accredited as a woman owned business. In New York and as well and the federal government, a certain number of contracts must go to woman owned, veteran owned, and minority owned businesses. I want to say that there is a bit of paper work to fill out, but it does not cost anything. This is the “membership” you want….not these scam artists. Go to or your states small business web page and check that out.

  223. YES. I applied for membership, or really just wanted to request some information, and after the same 30 minute long ‘interview’ I was congratulated and told I’d make a great addition to the group, and asked which type of membership I prefer… the ‘Elite’ or the ‘Professional’ or something along those lines. Basically … “Do you want to pay me $989 or $789?” I said neither. I said I would like to think about it, run it by my husband, etc. since I can’t just dish out $1,000 without getting his input or looking at my budget. Okay, I actually had no intention of doing EITHER of those things because I know for a fact that is not within my budget (I live in DC … I am pinching pennies) and I would never allow my husband to agree to me spending that on… what? Networking? Conferences? A downloadble logo? When I desisted, she continued to say, “Ok, I understand and I do have one other deal I can offer you …” Which, of course, makes me think: If there are other, much cheaper options available (she went as low as $99!) why am I just hearing about them now?? Even still, after noticing how hard she was trying to take my money, I didn’t even want to give her $99. What a waste of my morning. I am an ambitious, self-motivated person – I will get to where I want to be professionally without the NAPW! 🙂

  224. I had the same thing happen to me today. A lady called me, ran through some information about my business, asked me how I wanted to build it, where I wanted it to be in 5 years, the whole dog and pony show. She then welcomed me to the group and yada-yada-yada, which package could she sign me up for, the $998 or the $498. I said I wasn’t purchasing anything until I spoke with my husband (my standard answer when I don’t want to be cornered). She asked if budget was the issue. Ya think? Long story short, I was offered the $199 year and was informed that my husband “most certainly would want me to invest in something that could grow my business and expose me to 5,000 members.” She proceeded to rattle on from a script and I interrupted her, telling her that I didn’t want her to waste her voice because I wasn’t being pushed into anything without consulting with my husband. I wondered aloud what I’d read on Linked-In about the free basic membership. She said she wasn’t pushing, she was being “passionate” and “none of the women in NAPW would stoop so low as to be involved in a free membership.” And with those lovely pearls of wisdom, I was abruptly hung up on. I got online, found this blog along with some other frank reviews and breathed a sigh of relief that I’d dodged that bullet. However, she did waste a considerable amount of my time that I’ll never get back.

  225. NAPW is alive, well, and targeting women, who are new directors of companies. They contacted me, and employed the hard sell, hard close tactics. The woman on the phone was good, creepy good. She wasted my time, but she opened my eyes.

  226. Just got off the phone with NAPW also. I, too, indicated interest on Linkdin. While still on the phone with quite a skillful communicator, I checked the internet and found the problems with the organization and brushed them off by indicating I was only interested in the free membership unless they could send me something in writing. I am sure I won’t be hearing from them again! But you’re right, that is a few minutes of my life I won’t get back again.

  227. Yes, for a seasoned professional and retired military person who should KNOW BETTER, I fell prey to this “pitch” last year when I wanted to switch from my specialty professional organization (very above board) to a more broad organization as I geared myself to move into my second retirement – though was considering foray into small business (retire when I’m dead) . So, I did join for the year and found nothing of value in the membership and had all of my E-mails go to my Junk folder (and they were copious)…only to have them AUTOMATICALLY renew my membership. How did I find out since the renewal notice went into junk mail….I saw the charge on my credit card, which I TOLD THEM in no uncertain terms was not for re-use. At any rate, after filing a dispute with my credit card company AND atempting to call them numerous times, I sent a few E-mails that got their attention and they “deigned” to offer me $99 of my $199 renewal fee back since “I was told that renewal was automatic during my recruitment, and in my membership info (long since submitted for recycle) and they sent me an E-mail.” My credit card company wanted me to continue with my dispute. I figured that it was shame on them for their recruitment practices for my joining in the first place and shame on me for not paying attention for the automatic renewal Alhtough I did do due dilligence researching them initially, I didn’t find the informative posts that others found and were forewarned. So, I’m going to get my $100s worth by posting my experience on as many sites as I can so others can be forewarned – don’t fall for these deceitful practices….it is tantamount to using boilerroom practices..only it is women taking advantage of other women. Yes, and we do so like to talk about ourselves! Lesson Learned.

  228. I am so glad I read this anything that comes from a toll free number always makes me weary. And here at work we have caller ID. The call was almost identical to everything described above. She kept going lower and lower on the price and I firmly said anything over $100 I need to think about as I have a family of my own to take care of. She was very demanding and said that they will not hold my place. I said well if that’s the case then so be it and I hung up on her mid sentence cause I couldn’t listen to any more of her BS! I’m so happy I didn’t waste any money on this.

  229. Just got the VIP call today. Wonderful news. Ten minutes later after a lot of discussion about me came the fast talk about the organization absorbing half the cost and it ONLY costing me $995 for the VIP membership and Woman of the Year. I made the woman back-up. So I have to pay to receive the honor I was “nominated for” I asked. The reply was “of course not you earned it. The selection process takes time and the communication takes money! I basically stated I’m not interested and the woman started asking if the amount was the problem but I did not give her the opportunity to provide another price. I told her the problem was the fact that I should not have to pay to receive an award I had supposedly earned. She seemed ticked but ndictaed she would “let them know” and the call ended.

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  231. They reel you in and then comes the $989 or whatever price tag for annual membership. I refused the offers all the way down to $99 for the 1st six months. I realized then that this was just a thinly veiled ruse to get my money. When the person on the phone saw that I wasn’t going to bite, she quickly told me that I would still be sent a package by email. She sounded exasperated by this point. Can’t imagine why. The call ended abruptly thereafter. Oh well, I guess I will be missing out on the discounts at Target, airline tickets and other such wonderful treats. I offered to take some time to think about the offerings but unfortunately I would need to make a decision during the call, or else the offer no longer stood. Drat! I blew my big chance at networking with other professional women, didn’t I? Aw phooey!

  232. Thanks for the information — I wish I had read it yesterday! I had wanted to join this organization for to promote my businesses and was offered “free” registration on LinkedIN. After going through the interview on the phone to see if I “qualified,” I was offered the choice of the $989 or a $700. something membership. When I said I was on a budget for memberships, they offered my a nonprofit rate of 400 something. They said they couldn’t send the information until I had signed up. By the end of the call I learned that the local chapter no longer had a president and that it no longer met. A smaller chapter further a way did meet. The woman on the phone stumbled when she had to reveal that my chapter no longer met. She also offerered me an expensive plaque that said I was recognized by the organization which I said no, too. By the time I got off the phone I no longer wanted to be a member of that group, so I called my credit card company to cancel but it was too late. I called them back and the woman did not answer. I finally got the billing department and they sent me to a special “cancellation” department (which should tell you something) The woman there was following a script as well and finally got me to compromise to $199 membership, which I thought might be worth it for the contact list. I have decided the National Organization of Business Owners would better fit my needs and they have a thriving chapter and are a reasonable cost — but I have checking with local members first. After reading these comments, I will try to cancel my membership completely in the NAWP.

  233. Wow! I see that your article dates back to August of 2010 and that people are still posting on this blog. That’s because we have all had the pleasure of that wonderful ego-boosting, manipulation, “interview” that ended with the hard-sell sales pitch, after which we Googled “NAPW Scams” and found this blog! Yes, it’s true. They’re still at it and they haven’t changed their game much at all. Hey, if you’ve got a successful model, why change it?

    For me it went like this: A few weeks ago I received an email that said I had been accepted for membership to the National Association of Professional Women, an invitation-only membership of successful professional women “like you.” I bit. I thought, hey if it doesn’t cost anything, why not? I filled out their online application and a week later, I got the call. The ‘nice’ woman on the phone told me that she needed to conduct an interview to see if she could confirm my membership because, ” unfortunately, not all who apply are able to accepted into this elite and accomplished group of women. Well, as you might imagine, even being considered gave me the feeling that I was being recognized, in a potentially very public way, for my years of dedication to my profession. They’re very good at stroking your ego without you even realizing it. After the 20 minute interview she told me, “in recognition of your success, and in light of the contribution that you make every day to your profession, it is my honor to inform you that your application for membership has been approved!” She went on to tell me about all the benefits of membership; free webinars, networking, ability to affix the NAPW logo on my website and business cards, and on, and on, and on. “So tell me, which of these benefits are you most excited about?” HUH? Now for the best part. “I am prepared to offer you the very special price of just $989 for the Elite membership. WHAT? No!! “Okay, I can offer you the very special rate for the Premium membership for just $750. No! “Is it a financial concern?” Duh! I don’t give my credit card over the phone and I don’t sign up for something that expensive without looking into it in detail first. “Well, I’ve just told you all of the benefits…” No, I’m not going to do it. “Well, I am authorized to offer you the very special rate of just $499 for a standard membership and you still get all of the benefits of membership.” HUH? Okay, now. Something smells mighty funny. NO! I’m not going to do it!!! “I am prepared to offer you the very special introductory membership of just $199. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just as I was hanging up the phone I could hear her offering me yet another “deal.”

    Tell your friends! DON’T BE FOOLED BY THESE SCAM ARTISTS!!

    P.S. Since the beginning of the “interview” entailed my giving them my work, personal email, and my cell number, I have a feeling that I haven’t heard the last of them!

  234. you think you were coned? we made plaques for them and delivered them for the NAPW MEMBERS AND NEVER PAID US $60,000 DOLLARS. how do you think I feel.
    we now are broke and ready to sue them….
    SHAME full but what would you expect ? look who owns the company….matt proman Manchester whos who Cambridge whos who Lexington whos who

    • Hi Maria, I am contacting you via your website form about this – You can read my comment about the experience I had with the company above, and ever since then, I’ve been amassing evidence against them. I’d like to talk to you about your experiences and expose this company for what it is.

  235. Thank God for women like you Michelle! You and I should start a Professional Women’s Recognition Group Chat or something lol! I spent 19:45 mins on my cell phone with Sabina {my not so nice rep at NAPW}. Everything you said ws head on but what I’ll add is that my rep must have been trying to reach me from the “Unknown Number”, for a few days, so she was already quite eager to just move along quickly with my, “Elite Membership”, that would cost me $938. I was told that there were also 184 members in their, “Brooklyn Chapter”, which I would clearly benefit from joining as the owner of, The Brooklyn Chronicles, Inc. Girl when I tell you my ego was so stroked as I honestly struggled to answer her questions as if I were on a business interview. I thought to myself, “Wow, someone is actually acknowledging my efforts as an aspiring new business owner. I felt warm and fuzzy but the time she said, “You are a woman in business making a difference”. OMGEEEE, call Oprah because I was like, “Yep, I sure as heck am!” She told me that the association would be my lifelong, “Third-Party Endorsement”, and I would be receiving a membership packet in the mail along with my identification card (I own my company, what would I need their identification card other than to have my ego stroked by colleagues?)

    I could go on and out about how my commission-driven rep let her feathers ruffle as I advised her that my purse was in my car. A power struggle of her assertively let me know that she would stay on the line until I went to get it. I advised her that I live in a building and the call would never withstand the elevator ride. We went back and forth with me winning and giving them nothing. The sad part was the disappoint I felt. I really felt recognized. She threw names like, “Forbes for Women”, and how I really, “needed”, this type of exposure. God only knows that phony scam artists like this is why I am building my brand on integrity. This whole experience yesterday makes me think of an organization that I paid when I, “accepted”, my daughters induction. The National High School Honor Society did get my money but after this I truly suspect that they too are a fraud. My daughter has yet to reap any benefit for being in their group. *sighs*, *sighs*, *sighs* The Life Lessons.

    Thank you again for spreading this message.

    Much Luv,

  236. I just had to hang up on NAPW, she really made me feel great and accomplished – then asked if I wanted the $989 exclusive or $789 premium membership. I said I don’t make any financial purchases without my husband, then she offered me the ‘budget conscience’ membership of just $489. She wouldn’t take no for an answer, she asked for my billing address. I hung up. If they were really supportive of business women, they would know we don’t make quick decisions involving our money!

  237. Thanks for this! I just got a letter from them and it seemed pretty legit…along with their website, but I haven’t looked at that fully yet. So glad to not waste time or $….SO sad that people do stuff like this!

  238. Just received my membership approval. What an honor to be thought gullable enough to respond without checking them out.
    Thank you for letting women know about this scam.

  239. If you’ve noticed, NAPW has prominent ads on LinkedIn. Let’s all get together and lobby them to STOP. I’m guessing many women found NAPW through those very LinkedIn ads that say “free to register.”

    Here’s what I just send to LinkedIn, through their “contact us” link. Feel free to just copy it, or send your own message:

    You feature prominent ads for the National Association for Professional Women. This is the most unethical group I’ve ever run across. Please see this blog for literally hundreds of accounts of businesswomen being scammed by the manipulative tactics of this organization. I strongly urge you to stop carrying their ads.

  240. Thank you for this blog. Like many, I clicked on their link on LinkedIn. Immediately got a phone call from a very articulate woman who was very expert at complimenting my accomplishments. I got suspicious when she mentioned the outrageous fee. I politely declined and advised that I would be researching the Association. This seemed to be enough for her to hang up. I agree with letting LinkedIn know their advertisers are scammers.

  241. I just put a block on my credit card. I can’t believe I was taken. i was influenced by seeing a co-workers name that was listed. Thanks for this blog! I wish I read it first.

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  243. I was checking out information for this Organization NAPW, I am glad I landed on your site, I will not be joining NAPW. I think that someone should start an organization that has some decency and ethics.

  244. OMG!!! My NAPW experience is almost VERBATIM!!! Although I’ve been in this business long enough to know about and experience these methods with many various organizations, and stuck to my guns throughout all the “warm” phone calls, they still undermined me and ignored my DO NOT BILL me automatically, they just did it yesterday! Trying to contact them now to tell them to remove me immediately, destroy my credit card information, never contact me again, and that lovely AMEX already credited back my account and has “unposted” the fees. Thank you for posting!

  245. They should rename this organization National Association of Gullible Women. I just fell for their “bait and switch” tactics, right BEFORE I saw this blog and the BBB “F” rating. NAPW sent me a postcard offering the free membership, so I applied. “Demetra” had to call me 3 times to get me at a time when I wasn’t too busy to speak with her “for a 10-15 minute interview”. THAT is the brilliant part of this tactic that works so well. I got disarmed into thinking I had to pass some kind of test, and it disabled my usual radar for scams. The really strange thing about this organization is NOT that they are using such unsavory tactics in their hard sell sales team, it is that they have signed up so many big name women to promote them. I wonder if they would be associated with this group if they had experienced the sales call I just endured (to the tune of $489). I am asking for my money back but I do not relish the discussion I will have to have to accomplish that.

  246. I originally spoke to them about a month ago, but was in the middle of a project at work, and I assured her I would could call her back, she insisted she would return my call. When she got to the $795.00 for a membership, it put up red flags. For the past month I continue to see the same number popping up, and I just don’t answer it, mind you it’s their 4th or 5th attempt. What do you know…I just got a missed call again from 1-866-540-6279. So I Googled it, and low and behold I find this site. Thanks for the information. Just thought I would share. Regards, Nancy G(No so duped in Sunny California!)

  247. What you’ve (and others) have described is almost verbatim what my experience was. I received a call at work last summer. I had seen the NAPW advertisements on LinkedIn so I naively assumed it was a credible organization. After going through my “interview” I was also smacked with the $895 cost to which I made it quite clear I would not be paying that. We went back and forth and she finally sucked me in at $199. At the time, I was anticipating looking for a new job so I figured $200 was no big deal if I could meet other professional women in my area. Needless to say I didn’t see anything in my area that was worth my limited time or precious energy. I figured chalk it up to a “cost of doing business”. Well this afternoon I received a call again, which I initially assumed was to try to upsell me to one of the original plans. But to my pleasant surprise I had been reviewed and hand selected as a 2013 Woman of the Year for my industry (financial services). Wow! Holy moly! We talked for some time about my recent accomplishments and goals. She asked me to go out and update my profile. Told me all about the mahogany frame with my certificate. Verified my mailing address. And then she started in about the seminars and annual conference and how as a VIP Woman of the Year I would have unlimited access “free of charge”. So I’m sitting here thinking WOW this is the best day ever! Wrong. For the low cost of $1995 it could all be mine. That’s where I was ready to just hang up. She went on and on and I finally told her I was not interested, I had no time to evaluate this, and I wasn’t spending any money. She then offered me the “non-profit” price of $495 if it was a financial hardship at the higher level. I made it a bit more clear that I would not be authorizing any charges to my account and I was simply not interested. She threatened me that she’d have to let the VIP committee know. I told her please do! Then I came out and did a Google search and found this among other blog entries and Yelp reviews. What a sucker I am. I feel like a schmuck! Anyway, better late than never I suppose. I just can’t believe that women like Martha Stewart and Ariana Huffington among others would be affiliated with such a scam. And in this Lean In era…. NAPW is trying to capitalize on our collective enthusiasm to accelerate our careers. Shame on them! Shame on THEM!

  248. I am comforted to hear others stories about this organization. I had the same thing happen to me! Two years ago I got the hard sales pitch and super discounted membership, etc. and so I mistakenly signed up thinking it could be something that could provide great professional networking opportunity. I told them I did not want to be automatically enrolled for anything, but lo and behold a $789 charge on my cc this year for membership renewal! After trying about 5 of their numbers and extensions I finally got a hold of someone and they said they would refund $580 of this money and make sure I was not automatically renewed in the future. I said I never agreed to a new more expensive membership price and so how can you just feel it okay to charge me and was told that they require 30 days advance notice in writing to cancel a membership in these new terms and conditions that list this new membership price, but I never agreed to new terms & conditions. They just told me all they were authorized to do was refund that amount. I have filed a dispute claim on my credit card (which by the way has a new expiration date, so I am not sure how they got around that)! I am hoping I will be able to get refunded the difference by the credit card company. This is such a disappointment that an organization that bills itself as a place for women to network is simply swindling people. I am usually not so gullible, but they must of caught me at a weak moment when I initially signed up. If others have ideas in addition to filing a complaint with the better business bureau I am all ears because this has been eye opening for me and I hope others do not get sucked it.

  249. This same exact thing happened to me and I got suckered into the $100 membership. About a month had gone and I received a Happy New Year email from their CEO. He’s a dude. I love men, I’m married to one and have had many fabulous male mentors in my professional development. However, I felt completely duped. Now I’m in the process of trying to get my membership refunded. Its not been easy.

  250. Ditto that is the same thing that happened to me last year and they did get $100 from me. they called twice more and were giving me awards for a fee also. This month they just charged my account $199 without authorization. I explained to my bank that it was not an authorized debit.
    But – then my debit card was shut down. I tried to use the debit card and it was rejected even after my direct deposit went in. I called the bank -the bank treats it like a theft from the account. I had to change my debit card # and all of my cc payments – what a hassle. Now hopefully I am done with them. we will see. thanks for listening

  251. Well, well, well. Guess who just called me again, even after I asked to be removed from their list. SMH. Nice try, but no cigar!

  252. I just got a letter today, 1/24/14, from them also; but thanks to the women on this site giving me a head’s up I will not respond. In today’s society I have learned to research every thing before jumping in blindly.

  253. Disgusting. I just had a similar call and had to eventually get mean with her. THEN she got nasty with me… sorry sister, you’re not going to get far with that…

  254. OMG!!! I just got off the phone with a lady trying to sell me a membership. After I told her I could not afford the $998 “elite” package, she offered the $495.00 package. When I told her I still could not afford it, she dropped it down to just $99.00 for an introductory offer, but required a credit or debit card over the phone. I told her I only paid with a check and that I would need to do more research into this organization. She quickly said goodbye. I will be VERY PREPARED the next time they call. This is such a scam!!!!

  255. Pingback: National Organization of Professional Women Scam | Scam Watch

  256. The only guaranteed way to get your money back from this scammy organization is to call your credit card company and let them know those charges were not authorized. I had to to do that, and it resulted in needing a new credit card, but so what? The hassle of replacing my card was a small matter if it meant not having to worry about future unauthorized charges for those ‘automatic renewals” that NAPW is famous for charging. They do this without having any kind of signed authorization from the cardholder, and without notifying you first.

    I’m not a lawyer, but I think that part might be illegal. Any company I have recurring charges with usually makes me consent/sign in some way first.

  257. Too bad I found this site after the phone call!! 😦 I did get suckered for the $99 deal for a year membership but now am concerned about them charging for other things without authorization!! Yes, they still push the stupid plaques!!

    • Oh they will charge your account for next years dues definitely. and they will not let you know in advance. I was charged $199 just last month and refused to pay it. I would just suggest that you send them an email now to tell them not to charge anything else on you acct. 🙂

  258. They are good but apparently their script hasn’t changed. I have the same story as everyone above. What I found interesting was that I was first offered an Elite membership for $989. When I asked about getting back with her, I was then offered the Premium membership for $789. Again (because I’m familiar with those Who’s Who books where you pay to get your name included so I was skeptical and wanted a chance to check the organization out) I said I’d like to get back with her, I was offered the Standard membership for only $489. Same thing down through an Introductory membership for $199, and who could possibly refuse a Trial membership for only $99. But this seemed to be available only if I agreed while on the initial phone call with this lady, who gave her name as Kathy Greco. When I refused even the Trial membership, I was told that I would receive a Complimentary membership, no fees to be paid, and that she would enter it as “upgradeable” to any of the previously offered levels of membership should I decide to do that as if this were some kind of perk. At this point, I would be embarrassed to associate my name with NAPW and this is interesting, why? I’m a lowly TYPIST. Imagine that. (While I am a court reporter typist and type criminal court proceedings, I wouldn’t think anyone would consider this position to be executive, and I doubt there’s a long line of professional women aspiring to do what I do.) In their initial spiel during the “interview” before they announce that they are proud to announce that you’ve been “accepted” into their organization, they make themselves sound legitimate. Unfortunately for NAPW, a professional woman has experience and common sense enough to see through this situation fairly quickly. Just another case of “Buyer Beware!”

    • I am so glad that you didn’t – that is exactly how it went with me but I paid the first $99 or $199 – can’t remember. But the renewal – was a couple of months ago and I refused. I emailed them and the she called and I told her. Maybe it is all about our ego! well anyway good for you. Pat yourself on the back! 🙂

  259. Thank you so much for this post! Hard to believe it’s from 3 years ago and NAPW is still doing this. I just got this phone call today and it went exactly as everyone above has detailed. How sad that an organization that proclaims its support for women is actually taking advantage of women. Lots of scams in this world, but I find this one really offensive. The representative that called me today told me that Robin Roberts and Barbara Corcoran are keynote speakers at their annual conference this year. Did their people not check out this organization before agreeing to represent it?

    For the record, I don’t have a problem with fee-award companies. I work in marketing and advertising. Companies pay for award submissions all the time (and if you want the nice trophy for your shelf or your client’s, sometimes you have to pay for it, assuming you’ve won). What I find incredibly offensive about NAPW is that they go out of their way to use deceptive tactics (“you are only one of two women in your state” or “because I have special administrative rights for non-profits I can cut your price in half”) and they try to hide what they are doing until you’ve already wasted 30 minutes (or more) of your time. It’s horrible. Shame on you, NAPW for not being more honest far earlier in the conversation. You might not make as much revenue, but you wouldn’t have an F rating with BBB

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  261. Michelle,

    Thank you very much for this information. What they are doing may not be illegal but it certainly is unethical. As one of your posters said, the organization could be an excellent group for businesswomen just as easily. Too bad they chose the dark side.

    Sometimes being so paranoid pays off. I am always suspicious of gushing compliments. The first thing I always think of is, “What are you after?”. As you probably can gather, I have serious trust issues!

  262. I hate to admit that I completely fell for their spiel. I saw the advertisement on LinkedIn & misguidedly thought they were trustworthy. I got the phone call right away without taking the time to do any research or talk to my mentors. As soon as I got off the phone I felt like I had made a HUGE mistake. I started searching the web for reviews from real women instead of the talented salesperson I had spoken with. There are some other website with more favorable reviews, but they just seemed fishy. My gut was belatedly telling me this organization is wrong!
    I started calling them back this morning. All of the options on the 866# directed me to leave a message. I finally realized that the very, very, very convincing woman I spoke to yesterday gave me her direct extension. I called that and immediately asked to be redirected to the accounting department. They transferred me around a few times, but I eventually landed with a lady who said she’d have someone call me back today. Within an hour a member of the retention group called back. Same old story with her. She kept offering to drop the price lower and lower. I did not back down about wanting a FULL REFUND. After maybe 10 minutes on the phone with her, I received a transaction # and assurance that the charge will be reversed in the next 3-5 days. They did their best to keep some of my money, but ultimately didn’t put up much of a fight.

    We’ll see what happens. LESSON LEARNED!! If it sounds suspicious, it probably is. Go with your gut!

  263. Hello ladies, I signed up for the “free” membership, yet I succumbed to friendly pressure to fork over $99.00 (at first it was $795.00), but changed my mind before I activated my membership, thank goodness! It may not be a scam, but the sales people are high pressure, and as soon as you decline, there go from being kind and and encouraging to becoming polite, condescending verbal bullies. I am disappointed that Forbes put them on a list of best websites for women, and even more disappointed that they were featured on LinkedIn. I was persistent, and am looking forward to my refund. Rebekah, my experience was almost identical to yours.The primary difference is that a minute after I gave my billing information, I found the negative reviews and requested cancellation. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  264. I was soooooo close just now! Something told me to do a quick Google search and this was one of the first 5 or 6 (negative) reviews! Today is 3/20/2014 and I clicked on an ad while perusing LinkedIn. I guess, ladies beware; this is still alive and strong! I did not hit submit on my contact info; here’s hoping they didn’t sneakily still capture it! Thank you bunches for the review!!


  265. Hate to say it but I was sucked in as well. Paid $199 for a NAPW platinum membership. I remember them trying to sell me a higher membership at the beginning but thought that’s just what they do. Well, a few days ago I got a call about being chosen as “Woman of the Year” and after some ego stroking and all the “great” benefits were laid on me, I was told I had to pay $995…I couldn’t believe it. When I declined she tried to cut me a deal for a cheaper price. Once I declined again, she quickly got off the phone. That experience prompted me to look them up as a scam where I’ve found a few reads. Thanks so much for sharing your story. How do you find reputable organizations to be apart of?

  266. The same thing happend to me as to Michelle today. Then I looked up the NAPW on BBB and found out they have an F rating and saw all the complaints. I tried calling to see if I could cancel my membership and get a refund of my $495 membership, but only got an answering machine and no return call so far. I don’t expect to hear back from anyone. What a SCAM. I saw that they have some legaleese that you can’t write negative things about them. . . .well liable and slander, if true, is a defense, and I certainly won’t write anything that isn’t true!

    • Hi Carrie – if you haven’t already, call their billing dept – 888-852-1600 and DEMAND that they issue you a credit. I argued with them for a good 15 minutes and they finally issued a credit. I checked with my credit card company, and the charge did, in fact, finally come off.

  267. I received a phone call this morning on my business line, but the caller didn’t leave a message. So I googled the number and your blog came up. I’m angry because someone professionally recommended this group and so I signed up because it was “free.” I’m glad I missed the call. My time is valuable, as I’m working two jobs and don’t have time to spend with scammers. Thank you so much for putting this information out here. And I’m going to go “unsubscribe” now.

  268. I was just contacted today by woman following up on a submission I sent on LinkedIn. I had an idea it was not legit when I received an email saying that a Membership Coordinator would be in touch with me. The Coordinator went through a series of “interview” questions to “qualify” me for membership. After qualifying, getting my business information and implying that everything was complimentary, she quickly stated the $989 and $789 membership fees – where all of a sudden did these outlandish fees come from that had not previously been mentioned. I told her I was not interested – then she reduced the rate to $100. I told her I needed time to research and look at the website regarding more of what the membership entails – then she asked was money an issue. I told her I simply wanted to do my due diligence. She stated they had thousands of women in this group that reaped the benefits of this program. She stated that I needed to call her back by the end of today to receive the offer. No Thanks – I’ll pass. I appreciate this blog and all whom have shared.

  269. I just received a call from this number and googled it, finding your post. Thank you for sharing your experience. This is infuriating, but I appreciate that you recorded this because it will save me time. It pisses me off their exploiting business woman!

  270. I, too, was suckered into this SCAM of a company! Did the whole initial start-up after completing my MBA and seeing their ads on Linked In, and getting a call from a “very nice” lady as well. Got a call today from these people telling me that I had also been chosen to be a part of their newsletter, get the mahogany plaque, blah blah blah…for the same price of $995. When I nicely declined about 5 times, the woman on the other end had the guts to ask me if I was declining for financial reasons! Who in their right mind would pay a grand for a plaque?! Red flags went up right then and there, and lead me to a Google search and ultimately to this blog. I’m glad other women have had success in fighting back against these scam artists. Thank you Michelle for the awareness in your blog! 🙂

  271. Thank you so much for this! I keep seeing their banner ads on LinkedIn and had ignored them, but was starting to wonder if I should check the org out…you helped me dodge a bullet.

  272. Thank you so much for leaving your comments. I just received a letter in the mail and thought I’d better look it up. I wondered how they even got my address. Thank you so much for having this blog. And all of you wonderful ladies out there, whether you got scammed or not, you are wonderful and worthy of a real award. It’s a shame these people are doing what they are doing. Good luck to you awesome women!!

  273. I am SO glad that I found this. I applied after seeing an ad on LinkedIn and I had an “interview” with them this morning. I was pretty excited about it and we were just getting to the membership fee portion – the same $795 others have mentioned – when the call dropped (I get horrible cell reception in my office).

    Looks like I may have dodged a bullet! Does anyone know of any quality, non-scammy associations or organizations for professional women?

  274. Thank goodness that I decided to look at the website before joining. I received the letter saying that I could join with no cost or obligation. I almost filled out the little card and sent it in, I decided to join online instead as our post had already come through today. When I did a search [I always read reviews prior to joining anything] I found your post and did a little extra digging a well. Thank you so much for keeping the post up. I have a very small, very new business there is no way I can afford to waste any money on something like the NAPW.

  275. I believe they target women as women are less likely to file complaints. Another issue, is filing your complaint with the proper party. As this is a federal issue crossing state-lines, your state attorney general can only do so much. Try FBI, U.S. Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and white collar crime agencies.

    Extendz was caught by the FBI due to their failure to properly refund payments and stop pulling payments from people’s accounts after they were notified to stop. If it seems like there is something scammy going on, typically – there is something scammy going on.

  276. Thank You, Michelle! I received my invitation to NAPW but because there was no fee to join, I became concerned and looked it up online. Yours is the first warning I found. I have shared your blog on my Facebook page, but am concerned they may start charging a minimal initial fee just to make it easier for them to have access to your credit card information. ALWAYS QUESTION EVERYTHING – free or not.

    So, lucky me, AKA the grateful one. I just ducked a blocked phone call that has been pestering me & my various telephonic devices and apparatus for the last few days….grrr. Having been an investigator for close to two decades I decided (or couldn’t resist the urge) to run los numeros to find out who the ‘me thinks I so sneaky” person is -or people are- playing ringidy-ding with my contact numbers. My rule of thumb is (read the chart)

    [anonymous = no answer in my book; random toll free numbers = no answer in my book; call to home phone anonymous followed by immediate call from blocked number to cell phone = no answer in my book…..I know who might call me from an 800 number = I answer that call; repeat]

    Lo and behold…VIOLA! The internet provideth. I stumbled across the biggest lottery winning of all time: years and years worth of postings, blog commentaries, articles, and other hub-bub about NAPW. Holy skemoly!

    Whew! I dodged a bullet…

    Here’s my sob story: having recently begun changing and rearranging careers from super-chick-on- the-streets to old-lady-getting-way-too-educated-writer-slash-wanna-be professor-of-crime, I am like a botox junkie looking for needles (AKA cyber-image enhancing resume and professional options) to increase my competitive edge with and against all the amazing and driven young women out there….[operation grandiose run-on sentence achieved]


    Any-hooo….I can say that, without a doubt, I would have most definitely fallen prey to such a dereliction of a women’s need to feel valued. However, thanks to the fallen before me who shout out a warning…I am indebted. Forever. Call block ON.

    xoxo & peace out,
    Bigrojsgal (aka Felicia) .

    • Update:
      Alas my drive to deviously avoid the NAPW calls was foiled (I mean really, after months of no answers don’t they have other numbers to begin harassing?) Mistakenly thinking the weird phone number was the delivery guy for my POD, I foolishly answered the phone….(how COULD I?!)

      After the initial shock that I had been duped (by myself) and resisting the urge to slam the phone down I decided to play mean lady. I let about 3 minutes of fluff and a few rounds of Q & A go by, then I cut her off and said “look, after I saw the ad on LinkedIn I did some research and I did not like what I saw, what I read, and the complaints that are all over the internet about your organization; I am not paying a ton of money for something with a bad rep…” [30-LOVE]

      She informed me that there are millions of members, that they are a professional organization, and that they can help women network (yadda, yadda). I told her I really didn’t have the patience for something questionable and she asked if there would be a better time to call back. I told her that I was in the process of moving (of course she assured me that there is a big hub of NAPW women where I am moving)…sure sure lady.

      As I got ready to tell her that ENRON was a “professional organization” too, she cut me off (at the quick, I was so bummed I didn’t get the shot”) and said “I’ll call back” and CLICK, hung up on me. [Set. Game. Match NAPW! I suck]

      Loser. Only telemarketers act like that. Get a life.

      Well, it would have been nice to say that….to her….but the dog enjoyed it so I guess I feel okay about it.

      Again: THANK YOU all you prior posters, for making this information available!

  278. I just received a call from them about membership as well. I’m so glad that I didn’t fall for it. When I asked the woman to send me a link to the pricing information for the different package options so that I could review them and consider it, she informed me that the pricing was not online and that it’s her job to inform me of the options. Then, I asked her if she could send me the information via email. She said that she just gave me all the information via the phone… this was my red flag – what kind of major organization cannot provide membership options online or at least via email?
    Thank you for posting this blog! It confirmed my suspicions. You are saving a lot of women from these financial predators!

  279. I received a piece of mail from them (sent to my job) stating I was nominated to be a member of NAPW. I, too, was so honored that I mailed back the post card to continue the process. Today (about 3 weeks later) I received a phone call from a representative telling me that I was selected but she had a few more questions before she could definitely approve me.

    I was taking my post-lunch walk, so wind-ed and all, I spoke with her. She asked me about my postion and gave me a chance to really promote it. At the end of my 15 minutes of “self accomplishments”, she extended a membership and told me about all of the perks of being a member. I was so excited and ready to share my good news on Facebook until she hit me with, “We have two packages: the Executive something another for $995.00 and the (whatever) one for $795.00. It took me a minute because I was beginning to feel a little slow (no offense to anyone). “Do you mean nine hundred ninety-five dollars?”, I said. She asked, “Now which one would you like to take advantage of?” “Neither!”, I said.

    To make my long story short, each time I told her no, I wasn’t prepared to give anyone hundreds of dollars over the phone immediately, she lowered the price. The price was lowered to $499, then $199, then $99 and when I had reached my office and told her that I was not paying anything until I had something in writing, she told me I qualified for teh “Free Trial” (well, what do you know?). So that is what I am waiting to receive in the mail.

    Thank you for posting this blog because I felt like there are many people who are getting caught up in this thing and are paying big bucks. She couldn’t get blood from this turnip!!!

  280. HA HA HA! They just called and did that high pressure, urgent sales tactic on me! Not interested…thank you! *Click*

  281. I found this post because I googled it after this exact thing happened to me. Award framed in mahogany and everything. She kept saying the word “free” but I had a bad taste in my mouth so I solidified the fact that even the lowest membership fee I paid I couldn’t afford. But I did it anyway because I believed it would help in my most college job search. I spent an afternoon messaging tons of woman and the only message in my inbox is a sales pitch for something else.

    What I really want to do is demand my money back.

  282. I fell victim to NAPW, as well. Wish I had seen this blog before I wasted so much money. I am newly incorporated, and a very small one-woman operation, on a very VERY tiny budget. I thought the association would provide exposure and other benefits, but now I’m realizing I was scammed.

    I actually did attend the national conference on April 25th in NY. Again, I thought I would gain something extraordinary from the experience. But I experienced the following:

    1. After arriving in NY at the conference location, I discovered they had completely lost my registration information and I had to wait for an hour for them to sort out the situation, which resulted in a generic name tag and no real apology.
    2. The Thursday night networking meet-and-greet was completely unstructured. There was no NAPW representative to guide the evening, so the 200+ women in this hotel lobby area just kept asking each other… “Where do we go now?… What do we do next?… Is this it?” At one point, we were shuffled into one of the smaller hotel ballroom areas where the blasting techno music made it impossible to have a conversation with anyone (which was supposedly why we were there). The event was three hours long and although the wine and champagne were flowing, there was very little food, which was brought out 2hrs after all had arrived, and did not accommodate the number of people attending. Most women had traveled all day and were exhausted and hungry, and there was nothing immediately accessible except wine and cocktails. Not good.
    3. At one point, Starr Jones showed up. It was immediately clear that she was there for the photo op, to bring “star quality” to the organization. But there was no substance to her visit. Many women, due to fatigue and lack of food, departed this networking session early, as it became clear that we were merely dumped there to fend for ourselves.
    4. The Saturday conference was okay, but did not meet the standards of what the women in the room had paid to attend. First, it became immediately clear that 90% of us had been scammed by being told we were “specially selected” to be named “VIP” members and would be given special seating at the conference. When the doors opened to the conference auditorium, there were approximately 1,200 women in attendance, 90% of whom were seated in the “VIP” section. There was nothing *special* about it because nearly everyone there was seated in that section.
    5. The panel speakers were prestigious, at the top of their fields, and discussed important business topics… but spoke in generalities, and in some cases, pushed/promoted their recently published books and newest available products (which were being sold in the lobby during breaks, outside of the conference room).
    6. The featured speakers, Barbara Corcoran and Robin Roberts, were inspiring and encouraging, but only spoke for about 20min each, then departed. This was an 8hr conference. All of the marketing/promotion had focused on their appearances.
    7. There was no clear itinerary. Just a sparse program listing people who would speak (their bios, etc), but no timeline was provided. When hour-long breaks were occurring every 90min or so, I became frustrated with the fact that I had paid the price of an 8hr conference that was only *in action* for about 4hrs. The rest of the time was eaten up with fluff, breaks, etc.

    With all of this said, I regret that I lost about $900. As I mentioned, my official company (incorporation) is new and my budget is ridiculously small, so this was an enormous chunk out of my potential annual income. After reading this blog today, I immediately sent an email to the customer service and billing departments instructing them to NOT renew my membership for next year under any circumstances. I accept the loss of the $900 because I verbally agreed to it, thinking the membership would benefit me. It was my fault for not investigating the company further before I agreed. All I can do now is proactively stop them from renewing my membership. I will call my credit card company and ask if they can block any potential charges from NAPW, just in case NAPW decides to pretend they never received my email instructions.

    Hoping others who receive “the call” are wiser than I was, especially due to this blog and other sources that seem to be providing similar information about the deceitful workings of NAPW.

    – Jennifer Cooper
    Go-DIVA! Productions, Inc.

    • One other item I forgot to mention…
      I’m curious to know if others experience this as well (others who did accept membership, and thereby, a page on the website)….

      After the phone interview with the NAPW rep who was taking notes to – as I learned later – begin the creation of the webpage for my business, I wasn’t able to get back to check on the page until several days later (due to my own time constraints). When I saw the page, it was loaded with typos, misspellings, terrible grammar, and massive amounts of incorrect information. I was appalled that the rep had demonstrated such unprofessional data entry skills, and as a result, misrepresented me. I quickly fixed everything on the page and hoped that no one had seen it prior to my edits. This should have been my first red flag. Live and learn.

      Did anyone else have this experience?
      – Jennifer Cooper
      Go-DIVA! Productions, Inc.

    • Jennifer, thanks for sharing your experience of the conference. I’d wondered if the actual event would be as shoddy as their sales pitches–and you’ve confirmed it! Sorry you had to endure such frustration, and pay for it too.

      I keep hoping someone will publish an expose of this company. Anyone have good journalist acquaintances??

  283. Ari, I beg to differ that these are false rumors. Perhaps you don’t man/woman the phones and haven’t overheard the tactics that get money out of women by flattery and fast talking and constantly lowering the price, but never below a ridiculous amount. They have no shame. They target the unemployed, the retired, the elderly, the handicapped to get their memberships. Word is getting around. Keep your ears open where you work and quit hiding your head in the sand.

    • absolutely not false rumors! I only found this website–and hundreds of stories nearly identical to mine–after my own traumatic experience with the sales department. These manipulative tactics have given the whole organization a terrible name, regardless of any good they might try to do. Time to catch up to reality and use ethical practices!

      • Ari – you are going to get a lot of angry responses from the tons of ladies to whom this very thing happened to, me being one of them.  I almost got conned by the BS flattery on a 20 minute phone call to the tune of $995 until I got smart and read these posts.  I fought with your billing department for two days until I saw the credit come off my credit card.  I would stay away from making comments before you have the facts.

        Sent from Yahoo! Mail for Windows 8

        From: Michelle Villalobos’ Blog

        Sent: ‎Mon, ‎Jun‎ ‎16‎, ‎2014 at ‎4‎:‎08‎ ‎PM


        Subject: [New comment] Businesswomen Beware: How I Fell Prey To Unsavory Sales Techniques Targeting Professional

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        .css-sandbox a.primaryactionlink:hover { background-color:#11729E; color:#fff; } Nancy Buffington commented: “absolutely not false rumors! I only found this website–and hundreds of stories nearly identical to mine–after my own traumatic experience with the sales department. These manipulative tactics have given the whole organization a terrible name, regardless”

  284. “Exaggerating the truth.” Have you heard of euphemisms? I AM worth the money. That’s why I spend my dues on organizations like AAUW whose chapter I don’t have to drive an hour and a half to get to and with whom I could buy 10 memberships for other women for the money you want women initially to spend.

  285. I’ve received calls from people congratulating my company on winning an XYZ award, how nice! They then proceed to tell me that they will send me a nice plaque (probably worth abut $15) and issue a press release all for the special “marketing fee” of $500. Another similar scam are the publishers that call me weekly offering to feature my company in their magazine. Cost to me, nothing…however they will need a list of all of our supplier partners to “offer” them the chance to place an ad in said magazine. Thanks to Michelle for shedding light on these less than ethical practices.

  286. I just received a call from Marcia, Account Coordinator at 516-453-6273, she redefines high pressure sales and I was appalled. I had to say several times “perhaps you are not hearing me correctly, while I appreciate the call I would like to do some reference checking and on the association. I was told it was a one time offer, and they had already invested time into creating a professional profile for me. I said, we have spoken for 8 minutes now, you will need to categorize that as an a business development as I will not respond to the high pressure tactics. She pushed again for my credit card information and implicit authorization.

  287. Hello,
    I too fell prey to the 20 minute ego massage. When I gasped at the $1,200 or the appx $900, I was told that luckily there was a membership that for one time only I could pay $489. I would have a page on their website, and the first local meeting was on such and such a date! It sounded so legit. I should have known that “one time only” was a scam. I was called in the afternoon when I was tired and it felt good to have my ego stroked. The sales rep knew so much about me and my local accomplishments. Without even looking up NAPW, I changed my mind within a few hours and called multiple times to request my money back. No response.

    I called for 2 days, logging each time that my call was not answered or returned. Looked up “Rip Off Alert” and it says that the NAPW is not a rip off company. Read other women’s testimony that it was a rip off. Took the advice I found on one forum to file a complaint through VISA. Although my card was a debit through my bank, I was told that their fraud dept followed VISA guidelines. The bank credited me the $485 pending investigation. I gave the bank rep all the information including the dates and times of my calls. A week ago I received a letter saying there had been no response from the NAPW and if they did not hear anything within 10 days, my fraud claim would be approved.

    Today I received a letter, denying my complaint, stating that I must eat my $485. NAPW used the fact that I received a packet from the NAPW (while I was in the middle of the fraud process w/ VISA), as well as an email stating my membership (ditto re: during my complaint process). NAPW stated they kept a recording of my joining during which they say the sales woman told me there a NO refund policy. Of course I do NOT remember that part. Also the letter from Key Bank said that if I did not put the $489 in the bank by a certain date (today – no joke) then I would be subject to overdraft charges.

    Bottom line, I joined. During the phone call with the NAPW rep, I kept telling her I was not sure, confused and tired. She listened empathetically and kept lowering the price. Truth is, I think I got tired and just gave in to a great sales pitch and my ego.

    After crying a bit and kicking myself around, I realized that NAPW are masters.

    Double lesson. NAPW and Key Bank are horrible. I am closing the account through which the membership was debited.


  288. I just got off a 20 minute phone call as well. I am an intern currently and was really excited to be considered for such a “prestigious” membership. She kept asking me nice questions about myself and telling me how great it was going to be with this membership, what with all of the networking opportunities. “And, you know, these days you can’t do anything without networking,” is what she told me. Then she said she would give me the best membership with blah blah blah benefits for only $995 a year! I blanked and told her I was under the impression that it was free. And she said no. I told her I couldn’t pay for it and she lowered it a couple hundred dollars. I said no again. She lowered it a third time and I still said no. I asked for the most basic membership which was $99. I asked her if I could think about it and she said no, that she had to do it right away because they got “tens of thousands” of applications. Well, of course, I got worried (this could be my big chance to get a job!) and gave her my info, feeling queasy the whole time. She took it and, in the same monotone voice she’d been using the whole time (I almost laughed earlier in the conversation because it was just so obvious she was reading from a script), she congratulated and offered me an expensive plaque to which I also said no. Then she said she would extend my trial membership from six months to a year, which of course made me feel better. So I did it. Two minutes later I told my boyfriend what I had done and he linked me to this. At which point, I proceeded to panic and called the lady back, of course she didn’t pick up. I called billing, which also didn’t pick up. I left a message but I’m at a loss as to what else to do! I feel so used, manipulated and angry. I’ve been trying so hard to get a job that I’ve been desperate to connect with people and groups and opportunities. Then, magically, here was the national organization telling me how great I was and what it would do for me! So, naturally, I feel pretty stupid. It sounds like some people had luck with billing so I guess I’ll try that. Thank you all for the info! Let me know if there’s anything else I should do.

    • This is so incredibly frustrating! I hate reading about people like this who are working hard to start their careers only to be set back in such a major way by a company that says it’s there to help women! This is sick! I wonder if 60 minutes has/would consider doing a story on this…

  289. I ended up on this blog today after receiving a call from a number I didn’t recognize – so I googled. I’ve missed about 5 calls from a blocked number in the last two weeks and had 2 voicemails from someone at NAPW asking for me to call back because it was ‘very important’. I’m so glad I read this blog, it was already very fishy to me. I should never have filled out the form on linked in, it was actually just for fun one day and I thought it was a group on linked in, not some scummy organization such as this.

    For those of you who have credit card charges or recurring charges – cancel your card. Call your company and say you lost the card – you will get issued a new card and account number, which blocks companies from charging you. Its that simple.

  290. I wish I saw this article BEFORE I signed up and gave them my phone number, great! I noticed they didn’t put a price on joining them (membership fee) if there is one at all, I am sure there is. I thought it would be free mentoring for career growth like an amazing organization in Arizona offers to all women 100% FREE – always. Nope, not the NAPM.

  291. I am glad I get to come this post before giving them any personal information. They called me this afternoon and asked me lots of questions about my professional profile which I am fine with it. In fact, I did not feel like I answered quite good, but anyway she still offered me the membership. Later on, she said the membership is $999 which is a little bit too expensive, and she dropped the price to $498, and yet I wasn’t feel comfortable to give my account information over the phone. Later, she kept offered the lower price till $99 for a trail membership and I asked is there any way I can pay through checks or online. However, she said this is the only way to apply the membership and she went back to her script asked about would you want to use master card, visa, or American express to process the payment. I wasn’t sure about why she keep asking for money, and I am glad I come to this post before giving her any credit card information. Now, I don’t think I need to apply or give her a call back anymore for the membership. I won’t think this is a scam, but I will recommend people think twice before you apply the membership. It is a little expensive, and see if you need the membership, because it might be not that beneficial to the members as they mentioned about.

  292. They finally called me and I answered so I thought I would have a bit of fun with them. She asked me what I did for a living and I told her I was a receptionist for the porn industry and was working my way up to be a big porn star someday. She asked me my highest level of education and I told her high school. I sounded very uneducated when I answered any questions. She told me what my benefits of joining the NAPW would be and asked me which of those I would benefit from the most. I told her networking with other women to recruit them into the porn industry with me. She asked what I meant and I told her that I had heard that the NAPW was a great place to recruit women and that other women used it to sale their products to other women. She said, “You mean you want to use NAPW to recruit other women into the porn industry with you?” I said yes.
    She told me that, that was great and I sounded like a good candidate for the NAPW and welcomed me to the program. She told me the cost and I said no way I can’t afford that, but thanks anyway. ha ha Yeah, definitely a scam! I wish I could have recorded it…

  293. Pingback: Scams are for Women: My experience with the NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) an exercise in Misogyny | Nerd Cabaret

  294. Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Spending some time and actual
    effort to generate a very good article…
    but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and don’t seem to
    get nearly anything done.

  295. Hello all. I also wanted to join the NAPW because I saw it on linkedin, thinking it was a legitimate group. I got a call from two different, very polite, ladies in different days. Well, I told one about my work and she was very enthusiastic about what I have done, then she told me the membership fees and went as far as a $99 fee for a trial for 6 months. I told her I didn’t have the money until I get paid next week so she have me her number to call her back when I have it. I’m not sure what I will say to her now that I have read all these stories. The perks seem legitimate and I really want to network with other professional women, but to pay that much for a “trial” period seems excessive.

    • It is excessive. Groups like American Association of University Women, Friends of the Library, ($5.00 in my town), Assistance League, book clubs, Soroptomist Club, are less expensive.

  296. Thank you SO MUCH for writing this. I am an artist and received a letter congratulating me with a 2014 membership. I had never heard of them, but I thank Google for helping me find your review and others. YOU ROCK! *tossing NAPW letter into the wastebin* Thanks! -Shan (

  297. I received a postcard in the mail, didn’t think much of it, but returned it thinking why not? A week later I received a phone call about “interviewing” me for my application. Seemed odd, and I was driving, so I said call back another time. They called several times without leaving a message so I decided to do some research. That’s how I found this page…thank you for sharing. I have blocked their number.

    • Just wanted to make an update that since my last phone call with them (the whole porn thing posted here), they haven’t once bugged me again. YAY!

  298. Oh no!! I wish I had read this earlier. I applied to them because LinkedIn recommended it and I wanted to be a part of a networking organization since I’m a young professional. They called today and I was so excited when they told me they could see I was going to accomplish a lot in life blah blah blah. And then they mentioned the fee of 995, I laughed and said oh sorry I didn’t realize there was a fee (I’m naive). Then it went down to 400 something and then 199. I said yes.
    I thought I was going to be a part of something grand.

    This is so disappointing. What do I do? Can I cancel?
    And since we’ve all tried to be a part of an organization for professional women – does anyone know of a good organization I could join for networking, mentorship, sisterhood and charity that doesn’t require your savings account details? I live in Chicago.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • I belong to AAUW, American Association of University Women. It takes a 2 year community college degree to join, or higher, and works diligently for women and girls. Dues are $85.00.

  299. I quit after being in training with them for a week … I was constantly criticized on how I read the script and was told that I needed to sound more monotone !! .. they are nothing but a joke … the rebuttals that we have to say are horrible … my conscience wouldn’t let me work for them … all that they supposedly offer … You can all do on your own …. these reps get a small hourly wage plus a bonus for the amount of memberships that they sell …. in my opinion … they are very insulting and rude … and yes Michelle … the trainer told us all about your negative review … Hang up on them … they are vultures and not worth your time …. I am so happy I quit working for them !!!

  300. This organization is a disgusting sham. If you give them your credit card no., they’ll post unauthorized charges to your card without warning or a heads-up.

    Call them and you’ll get the nastiest treatment and a runaround until you threaten to sue. Then, and only then, do they relent and reverse the charges.

    Class action, anyone?

  301. OMG!! I just got the same call and felt the same way as you. I immediately jumped online to see what this was about. I am so made that I can never get that 15 minutes back. In fact, I am now late picking up my children!

  302. I just got a call from a very inspiring woman who tries to make you feel amazing about your accomplishments in your successful career. I must say, when she told me the membership was close to $1000 I was shocked. Even my IEEE membership is a quarter of that, and is legit. All I can say is if someone can’t give you a chance to read over their welcome package to decide whether you really want to be part of this organization (while demanding the payment on the phone), then we should all be on high alert. I, personally, never do any $$ transactions over the phone and funny she insisted that was the “safest” way to confirm this financial agreement. Bahahaha!!!

  303. thanks for posting this. as you can see they still doing it. I was searching the website and came across with your post. thanks for saving not only me, but a few of us, a future headache.

  304. I was almost duped today. At first I thought, how great to be considered accomplished among so many accomplished women. She started with the 995 and worked her way down. Luckily, I can smell a scam a mile away and only got the complimentary membership. Wish I had checked the blog first but thankful I didn’t fall for it.

  305. Jennie, thank you for the link where people who work there show it’s no better (worse, actually) for the callers than those called, or for the “flatterers” than those flattered.

  306. I wish I had read all of this before I got scammed. I am going to try to call back to get a refund, but their website clearly states they do not offer refunds. Has anyone tried recently to get money back? It is horribly sad to me that an organization like this would exist… It is difficult enough for women to be successful in business without a scam organization stealing our hard-earned money.

    • Hi Rae – unfortunately you will have to keep hounding them and fight with them. I too, got roped into this scam. As soon as I hung up, I had a sneaking feeling that something was wrong and I was scammed. I then read this blog and realized, yep, I was truly scammed to the tune of almost $1,000. Pretty soon after I had hung up, I received an email from them with the website information. Somewhere on their website is a link to their Billing Dept and phone number (you won’t get an answer from the number that called you). I called their Billing Dept. and told them I wanted them to credit back my credit card b/c I changed my mind. Of course, they gave me all the BS about how it’s nonrefundable, etc. etc. Then, the gloves came off and I started screaming at them and told them what scam artists they are, and that I was going to contact my lawyer, eventually they did issue a full credit. It took about a month, but they finally issued the credit. I also called my credit card company and told them I was going to log a fraud complaint if the credit didn’t go through. Get tough with them and get nasty if you have to. Threaten with court action. They don’t deserve any better.

    • This just happened to me today! After the call, I researched (which I should’ve obviously done first!). I immediately called their billing department, and a lady who was nice enough didn’t give me much flack (except trying to get me in on the complimentary membership) and gave me a refund transaction number. I asked for an email confirmation which she said could “take up to 24 hours” to receive. Either way, I will be checking with my credit card company to make sure that nothing goes through and/or if it does that a credit is issued within the 3 – 5 business days that I was promised. Or I will be calling billing back and threatening to sue.

      To reach billing, you can either call1-866-540-6279 and pick option 5 or 6 (can’t remember – just listen to the options) or 1-888-852-1600. I haven’t tried the second number, but it was given to me by the Billing associate should I need to call them back. I do know for certain that the first number works if you pick the billing option.

  307. They sent me a letter the other day and it really reeked of being bogus and sure enough looked it up and found this blog . I did not sign up . If they call me I will have no qualms about being very rude to say no because a sweet voice is fake just trying to grab money . It gave me all kinds of accolades for being a “Leader”, yeah well , lead this ….They should have never stopped running the collossuem in Rome! It was the perfect place for some people.
    Here, Kitty, Kitty.

  308. THANK YOU LADIES FOR YOUR POSTS! I just received snail mail from NAPW and thought “how odd” that they contacted me and then tried to register but thankfully saw this blog link on the same page. THANK YOU for preventing me from falling down the predatory rabbit hole. All I can say to whoever is praying on us is KARMA!

  309. So glad I found your blog. This very same thing happened to me. I was able to get them to refund the registration fee and turn off automatic billing so that my “membership” ends and they won’t keep billing my card. Wish they would give me a full refund but lesson learned.

  310. I knew these people were a scam when I got an email from both entities, NAPW and Who’s Who. At the time I was working as an Administrative Assistant, clearly not a high powered executive level position. I think they must also use some of the job sites where you post your resume to get your information. That is the only logical explanation I could come up with on how they got my name and email address. I was never contacted via phone, only email, it’s the email address
    I set-up specifically for when I apply for jobs. Since I was not in management at that time
    I disregarded it as a phishing scam (so glad I did) and marked it as such. Have never received another email from either of them.

  311. Thanks for the warning!

    I just hung up with one of the representatives of the NAPW. As I was speaking with her, I found your website. You are absolutely correct. She offered me a cost of $995 for membership. When I mentioned that I am not in the business of paying for an award that I supposedly earned. The representative decided to lower, cut the price in half on the offer. I simply laughed and informed her that she was wasting my time and as a professional woman, my time is valuable. In ending the conversation, my final words to her were, “Please do not attempt to contact me EVER again with such a scam. Thank you and have a nice day.”

    I’ll be sure to keep you posted on what happens next if anything at all.

  312. There are different levels of membership because the programs are each slightly different. I’m a member, and I’m grateful for my membership. I have grown and cultivated many relationships though my membership. Blogs like this feed into the fear of scams, but THIS is not a scam. You wouldn’t know until you make the investment and actually use the membership. There are 700,000 of us now, and we renew our memberships each year… Think about it. Why would we do that?

      • Being a member now for 2 years, there actually is a difference in memberships. You’re able to go to the Events with well known names like Arianna Huffington, Barbara Corcoran, Robin Roberts, etc. The top tier membership gives you free tickets to 2 events, all of my certifications, seminars, webinars and I’m able to network in person at all chapters across the US. Sorry Ladies, but until you’re are a member yourself, don’t make snap judgements since you have not experienced first hand the member benefits. Strange that people want to gossip about something that they don’t have the right to by calling it a scam. I’ve been a member two years in row now and because of this initial investment, my business is flourishing. If anyone wants to email me, please, go right ahead:
        L. Bengston. ( )

  313. I honestly still don’t understand why someone would pay that amount of money just to get hooked up with others when there is Linked-in, AAUW, the League of Women Voters, and even The Red Hat Society for free or little money, not to mention their snooty attitude trying to get that initial money out of you. And they’ll take your large sum and not come down one cent if you don’t protest. I’m glad you can afford the “investment,” and wish you every success.

  314. Michelle, this is a great expose, and you are right on the money with many points. If you want to drop me a line I can explain in more detail how the NAPW complaints cleanup works. Really… drop me a line.

  315. I just got off the phone with the NAPW as well. After all the compliments and telling me how deserving I am in a 20 min conversation, same thing – offered me a membership for $989. I am just getting started in my business and right now can’t afford to waste any money whatsoever!! Glad I found this blog before I gave them my credit card number!!

  316. I just paid $99 to “Who’s Who” of Executives & Professionals from “JT Richards” for 2014/2015 Edition of the Global Registry. This sounds like the same people. If this is a scam I’m calling my lawyer.

  317. Pingback: » SHAME: and how they Suppress Member Complaints Matt Proman CEO Bad For People

  318. I wish I had read these blog comments before I made my credit card payment to NAPW. At least it was not the $999 but even still it was the $498 rate, plus the $99 profile. I guess I’ll live and learn the hard way. They have called me at work 3 times now for the upsale. This last time was to congratulate me on being selected as Woman of the Year after having only been a member two months. This then made me suspicious and was a red flag to me. I told them I already made an investment in their membership in April, and could not make another investment so soon. So I declined and decided to get online to see if there were any complaints. And am amazed just how many complaints have flowed in.

  319. If you think you got scammed…..
    I’m a small long island (woman owned company) that made plaques for this company……they owe us $60,000 for plaques made and delivered.
    I’m so upset that we got stiffed by them.
    What hurts the most is that the owner
    Is living very very well…… just need to know his past and you will understand the greed…….
    Google Matt Proman Cambridge who’s who

  320. I also just got off the phone with them and was a sucker. I am a very young professional and I am doing all the networking I can. In my naivete I thought that this was a genuinely good organization, women really looking out for other women. Unfortunately, I had the same experience as so many others. The woman that called was very nice, made no mention of any fees until after about 20 mins of conversation. At this point me offered me two memberships both over $500, which I basically laughed and told her I was in no position to afford that. She was very clever and would ask me a few more questions and then offer me another membership for a little less she finally got to the into membership for $199 which I gave into.

    Lesson learned, I should have done my due diligence and Googled this organization first. I am usually much better about doing my research first, but I really wanted to believe that women would not take advantage of other women like that. The whole thing seems to be built on exactly the opposite of what they are supposedly promoting. They promote women empowerment and networking and education, but really they are taking advantage of women’s desire to be equal in the workplace and our desire to advance by complimenting (as in manipulating) us on our accomplishments and then squeezing a little money out of us. This is worse than when you take your car to the mechanic and realize they are trying to throw in some extra services you don’t need just because they think you are an ignorant woman. I hope NAPW is held accountable, $199 doesn’t sound like except when you are living paycheck to paycheck like many new young professionals are. Shameful.

    • Sharri, call them back! Tell them you felt pressured into the sale. Upon further consideration you want to cancel your membership. They will be difficult. Don’t give up! I was able to get a full refund after my experience with them. Most of the numbers on the website just send you to an answering machine. The saleswoman I first talked with gave me her direct extension. I called that and immediately asked to be redirected to the accounting department. They transferred me around a few times, but I eventually landed with a lady who said she’d have someone call me back. Within an hour a member of the retention group called back. Same old story with her. She kept offering to drop the price lower and lower. I did not back down about wanting a FULL REFUND. After maybe 10 minutes on the phone with her, I received a transaction # and assurance that the charge would be reversed. They did their best to keep some of my money, but ultimately didn’t put up much of a fight. Another piece of advice – replace whichever credit card you gave them so that you make sure you’re not on an auto-renew cycle for next year. Women should not take advantage of each other like this. It’s disgusting! Best of luck to you!

  321. I just wanted to say the scam is alive and well. I signed up through Linkedin just like many others and thought they had the same model as Linkedin – where you get a free profile and can upgrade to premium after a 30 day free trial period. Instead they called me wanting to talk to me about my qualifications. 15 minutes later, they deemed me acceptable to be part of their organization for a low fee of $995. I said I am not going to pay that since I am not sure of the value they bring- they kept reducing the price to finally stop at $199. And I said I need to call them back. They kept insisting that they have to do it now otherwise the profile won’t be active. I know for a fact that a organization membership is not that critical as to be done now I said what is the worse that can happen – I will have to apply again. At that point, they said I have to call them back in 24 hours. By then my red flag had gone up and I googled NAPW and found many such stories. This morning I got an e-mail saying my profile is active and I can log in. I sure am not logging in to their website.

  322. Thanks so much for posting this. They got $100 bucks out of me (a “military discount” after I balked at the initial $1,000 or $500 or whatever they originally wanted to charge), but after that, they only time they ever called was to upsell me. No help on finding my “local chapter” or events in the area. I’ve shared your article and FB and LinkedIn to help guard against more non-sense.

  323. I’m sorry you’re time and money were wasted by this scam of a company that was created by a man and uses manipulation tactics to con women into joining. I can relate as I am a former employee of this company. They are terrible to work for as well, very unethical and yes we did read from a script and it had zero to do with your credentials, background or education the whole “interview” process was nothing more than meant to just keep you on the phone intimidate you and then puff your ego so they can cram the sales pitch down your throat. As a sales person we had to go through each word of the script verbatim and even if you didn’t have a live chapter in your area and you explained that was your main goal for joining, if you didn’t ask directly if there was a local chapter, we were not supposed to tell you. Also the real kicker is that then you buy the $989.00 elite package or any other package and later cancel, the commission that sales rep received gets taken back out of their check. Even if it’s a year later so you never knew what your pay check was going to be, because they constantly took money away from you, yet they never adjusted your taxes to reflect that you didn’t make that money. Oh and they laid off 40% of the company the week before Christmas. Real professional…

    • amazing, but not at all surprising to hear how awful they are to their employees too! It’s hard to believe that they’re still around after at least five years of blatantly unethical and probably illegal practices!

  324. I think all the same applies for the WAOFP (worldwide association of female professionals), exact same scenario. With the difference that the lady got less friendly when I asked midway her scenario what this would cost me…

    • Ah-ha! My ego is now crushed. I just had a 30-minute “interview” and actually felt good about myself. The WAOFP wanted $998 from for a Lifetime membership. I’m glad I found this blog. Thank you

  325. I First off so want to thank you!! I just received a post card from them saying “There is no cost or obligation” in a big pink circle with a check mark in the middle on the bottom of this check mark it says: ” To be included”. I took that to mean check us out. Which is what I am doing right now. I will not be filling out the post card or sending it in! Thank you for the heads up as well as the internet!

  326. So glad I found this blog article! Unfortunately, I did not see it before “joining” but it did save me from the VIP Woman of the Year “upgrade”. Thanks for the insight.

  327. I too have been “Scammed” by the sweet talking, ego stroking, women of NAPW. I never received anything from them (the “award”, the “plaque”, the “invitation to all events”, etc. and when I called to end my membership that I did not know was on auto renewal, I had a woman named Kelly berate me and embarrass me but I finally got her to say that she would send me an email stating they would cancel my membership and reimburse me for only $149 of the $199 that they took automatically from my account. I will investigate with the Better Business Bureau.

  328. I did not look before for these opinions, because I thought that NAPW was a real network focused on joining professional women to share and really highlight what we can do for this world as professionals. It was chocking when they told me I should pay an amount of $789 for the membership, and I will be receiving a welcome package with all the benefits I will be entitled for being member of the association. I never received the package, they called me saying that it was returned with an error in my address. I confirmed that the address they have sent the package was correct. Nevertheless, I gave them the address of my work place…the package never got here. Now I find out that this is just a well designed money making way for whoever is leading this network (or whatever it is). Being new to this end makes one more vulnerable to these types of scams.

  329. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I just received a letter from NAPW and I have never heard of them so I googled them, that is how I found your post. I just threw the letter away.
    If I receive another letter I am just going to report to the Better Business Bureau maybe they can help do something about this scam.

  330. Congrats to those that were able to get a refund! I wasn’t so lucky. 😦 They are good sales people. Be sure that you turn off your auto-renewal on your credit card; you have to call to do this. NAPW turns it on automatically for “your protection”.

  331. I have been approached as well by NAPW and went through the same process of being interviewed for 30 minutes. Then I was told congratulations for being accepted by NAPW. Of course, they finally get to the part about how much everything will cost. I just told them there was no way I could afford the price they were asking and that was that. Luckily, due to my lack of funds, I didn’t end up paying for the membership. What they are doing may not technically be illegal, but it is definitely misleading. I would suggest to “Anonymous” that when they plead their case that they learn how to use the English language properly. The misspellings, lack of proper punctuation and capitalization,not to mention the use of “u” instead of “you,” does not come off as professional in any sense of the word. It makes it difficult to find the person to be credible.

  332. I have an invitation to join the NAPW. I was just about to go only and sign-up. I googled NAPW and I saw NAPW complaints. That is when I saw your post. Thank you for being so candid. Too often we think we are being endorsed, but we are being setup. I am glad that you spoke up to save others from having our hard work diminished. As I look at their invite, it says – “aspire, connect and achieve.” I guess that’s possible for $1,000. Thanks Michele, Cathryn

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