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BBB Trends: All is calm, all is bright — but here are a few tips to keep at lease some control of the chaos

By Sandra Guile
Better Business Bureau

The hectic pace of the holidays is here. With it comes to do lists, family visits, holiday shopping, and get-togethers with friends. It’s also a time when our attention gets diverted away from checking important little details like our how our personal information is being used, what wi-fi connection we’re using and not quite checking out charity requests.

Here are a few tips to keep at least some control of the chaos:

• Always ask for a gift receipt. This way the recipient can return or exchange a gift if it’s not just right.

• Ask about a store’s return policy and warranty information before purchasing. Pass along any information about returns, exchanges, repairs, and warranties to the person who will use the item.

• Not sure about a gift or gadget? Research the item by reading product reviews, check BBB.org’s Business Profiles, look at the sales flyers and ads, compare prices, look for early promotions and “flash sales.” For tips on searching online, check out BBB’s Digital IQ.

• Mobile Security is Important! With so many shoppers using their mobile devices to research and make purchases, it’s important to have a secure device. Be sure you’re using the most up to date version of apps and operating system on your phone.

• Also, actively manage your location services, Bluetooth, microphone and camera – make sure apps use them appropriately as well. Check the app settings to make sure all apps have appropriate access to your information.

• Be on the lookout for name similarities. Dubious charities often pick a name that sounds like a more famous charity. Before you give, be sure you have the exact name of the charity you want to support. Learn more about charitable giving at give.org.

Request a free holiday issue of the BBB Wise Giving Guide to be sent to a friend or family member this giving season! The guide features evaluation results for thousands of charities. Simply email Guide@give.org with “Free Guide” in the subject line, and a name and address of where you’d like the guide to be sent.

Enjoy the holidays and remember, there’s always someone out there ready to pounce on your personal information. Protect it and learn more at bbb.org.

Sandra Guile is the Community Outreach Specialist for BBB promoting the message of marketplace ethics through public speaking engagements, presentations, media relations, press releases, web content, and other written materials. Cincinnati BBB is located at 1 East 4th Street Suite 600 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 – to reach the office, call 513-421-3015.

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