Bogus website 'a huge concern' for Buffalo Grove Lincolnshire chamber
Officials at the Buffalo Grove Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce say they are trying to shut down a fake website claiming to represent the organization.
Visitors to the phony site, which comes up among the top results in a Google search, see the logo of the former Buffalo Grove Area Chamber of Commerce next to a photograph of President Donald Trump wearing a Make America Great Again hat and unrelated crude language below. The president's image is next to text stating: "Support Donald Trump #ImmigrantsOUT #AmericaFIRST #BuildThatWall."
In an effort to make the phony site look legitimate, there are buttons for typical chamber content such as an events calendar, member directory and hot deals.
Chamber Executive Director Roger Sosa said the negative light the fake website is placing on the chamber is "a huge concern."
The purported owners of the web address causing confusion have offered to sell it to the chamber for $5,000, Sosa said. The chamber will not pay the asking price, he said.
"They're basically trying to extort us," Sosa said Wednesday.
Sosa said a chamber attorney in July issued a cease-and-desist letter and the chamber will continue pursuing legal avenues to shut down the site, which has brought periodic calls of concern to the business organization.
Buffalo Grove resident Karen Meadows, a former park board member, said she wound up on the fake website last week after seeking information to share with her new neighbors.
"I was like, 'What the heck?'" Meadows said.
Buffalo Grove Deputy Village Manager Jennifer Maltas, a local government liaison to the chamber, said she's concerned about what the bogus website is doing to the organization's image. However, she added, the problem may not be solved quickly.
"It's a complex issue," she said.
Each founded independently in the early 1970s, the Buffalo Grove and Lincolnshire chambers merged in 2014.