A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

BBB Trends: Is someone trying to cybersquat on your domain? Don’t click on links in suspicious email

Better Business Bureau What’s in a domain name, really? For small businesses, it’s the best way for customers to find them and for vendors to network with them. But what if a suspicious-looking email appears in your inbox threatening to take over your company’s domain name because it conflicts with a trademark, or the sender has filed a registration ahead of you for the same name? BBB advises...

BBB Trends: New research shows how scammers victimize consumers — and what you can do about it

Better Business Bureau New fraud research shows that people who live alone or have low financial literacy levels are more likely to lose money to fraudsters. The research also shows that the highest engagement and victimization rates involve online purchases and social media—outpacing telephone, mail and email fraud. Click image to download full report The report, “Exposed to Scams: What Separates...

BBB Trends: With voice-activated devices, be careful what you seek, especially when you speak

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau It seems so easy to do: Tell Alexa to play your favorite song. Ask Siri about the weather. Use Google Assistant to turn down the air conditioner or dim the lights. But think twice before asking your smart device to look up a phone number, because it may accidentally point you to a scam.  Let’s say you’re looking for the phone number of a plumbing company...

BBB Trends: Read, understand tax-refund loans — Is it worth it? What if your tax filing is wrong?

If you are one of the few who hasn’t filed your taxes yet, be on the watch for advertisements with a tempting offer: “file your taxes with us, and we’ll give you an advance on your return.” Some ads target consumers in need of loans to buy a car or pay off debt. BBB received more than 3,550 against tax return preparation businesses across the United States and Canada in 2018. Common...

BBB Trends: Before the image leaves pawprints on your heart, check the source

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau March 23 is National Puppy Day, and if your family is considering adding a furry friend to the family, there are many things to think about when purchasing a pet – like how to get stains out of the carpet or what valuables to tuck out of the way from being chewed up. The most important detail to consider is whether or not your family is ready to take on...

BBB Trends: Get a call from an Unknown Number? Leave it alone — this is still the best advice

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau When was the last time you received a phone call from someone you actually wanted to hear from? Or, the phone number on the Caller ID was from a person or place that you recognized? Experts are saying cell phone owners are drowning in a sea of robo-calls: U.S. phones were inundated with 26.3 billion robo-calls last year, that’s a 46% increase from the 18 billion...

BBB Trends: Check out home remodeling shows for ideas on your updates, but read contracts carefully

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Home remodeling shows highlight the latest and greatest must-have features to update any living space. Homeowners attending remodeling expos should plan to listen to presenters and pick up contact information from potential contractors – not go in with the intent to hire someone on the spot. After returning from the show, sift through the information, select...

BBB Trends: Back to campus or into a new home, choose your moving company carefully

Moving back to campus or moving to a new home takes a lot of organizing, planning, and patience. Choosing someone to pick up all of your belongings and take them to another location is a scary prospect, and sometimes the details involved with moving aren’t exactly clear before the first box is packed. Know this: you have rights and responsibilities that protect both you and the moving company that...

BBB Trends: Robocalls, spoofing and smishing are on the rise — what it is and what to do

By Sandra Guile Special to KyForward Does it seem like there are more robocalls and spoofed numbers appearing on your cell phone lately? On average, 112 million of these calls are placed per day or 1,297 calls placed per second to the more than six billion smartphones in circulation. As if your phone didn’t buzz enough, 15.2 million text messages are sent around the world per minute. Of those, 90...

BBB Trends: Small businesses are a big target of scams; how to proactively help yourself

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Millions of people in the United States either own or work at a small business, putting in a decent amount of time, money, and sweat into their jobs. Where most people would value small business for the community they create, scammers see a chance to cash in. It’s reported that scammers steal approximately $7 billion per year from small companies. BBB and...

BBB Trends: If you are taking those steps toward ‘I Do,’ have a plan and don’t fall for high-pressure sales

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau At least 40 percent of engagements happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day and one of the first stops for many newly-engaged couples may be a bridal expo. A wedding is one of the most expensive, one-day investments a couple will make, so making a split-second choice might end in unnecessary extra costs. On average, couples will spend approximately $27,000...

Online shopping is a great convenience, but be careful about delivery — porch pirates at work

By Sandra Guile Special to KyForward Online shopping is a great time saver during the holiday season but the shipped packages left on the doorstep provide a great opportunity for theft. According to insurancequotes.com, 25.9 million Americans have had holiday packages stolen from their homes since 2015. This often happens because people aren’t home when items are delivered, allowing thieves –...