34. Buyer Beware

There are many legitimate organizations providing services and training for emergency management and homeland security.  But there are also a few that have a certain aroma.  Something about them just doesn’t smell quite right. 
 
In 2013 I received a colorful brochure in a mailing from the American Board for Certification in Homeland Security, or ABCHS.  It was promoting memberships, training and certifications through their board, supposedly started in 2003. 
 
Their Certified in Homeland Security, or CHS, credential was a series of five levels, with CHS-V being the ultimate goal.  Professional memberships are often costly, and this was no exception. 
 
I noticed a couple of red flags when I first received the mailing.  First, the web address was a business .com website – not a non-profit .org or an educational .edu site.  But sometimes non-profits use commercial websites for one legal reason or another. 
 
Second, the names on their list of officers and board members were not familiar to me.  If I were new to the field this would not be a deal killer, but I’d been around emergency management for twenty years by 2013. 
 
So today I tried to reach their website through Explorer and Chrome with no results.  They made thousands of dollars from folks before they disappeared.