A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

BBB Trends: September is National Preparedness Month; are you ready? Here are some helpful tips

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Mass shootings. Tornadoes. Flooding. Now, hurricanes. It seems every community in our country has experienced some kind of disaster, tragedy or emergency event this year. We hear about them on the news and the question we always ask ourselves is: would we know what to do if that were to happen here in our home or in our community? National Preparedness Month,...

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: Choose your moving company carefully; here’s what to look for and what to do

Moving a business 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: School supplies, schedules filling, you are ready for school — but have you had ‘the talk’?

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau School supplies are packed, schedules are filled with upcoming sports and extracurricular activities and closets are filled with new clothes and shoes: everything appears to be ready to go for the new school year—or so it seems. There’s just one more little detail to check off the list. Have you had “the talk” with your children about online security?...

BBB Trends: Utility imposter scam overheats victims — beware and report to scamtracker.org

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau The hot summertime weather may come with a rash of fraudsters. These seasonal scam artists make rounds of calls to businesses and residents, claiming to be with the utility company calling to collect bills that are past due. The caller threatens victims that if the bill isn’t paid right away with a prepaid debit or gift card, the power will shut off within...

BBB Trends: School dazed? Watch for identity theft; share information only on need-to-know basis

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau In just a few short weeks, school bells will ring announcing the start of another school year. For many parents, that means forms, forms, and more forms -— applications for scholarships, sports teams, scouts and the list goes on.  Need-To-Know Basis As you get started, consider how much of your child’s information you’re sharing and how to protect it. You...

BBB Trends: Pause — read the fine print for online auction sites and read it fully before buying

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau   Going to a live auction to find a unique piece of furniture, jewelry or art can be an exciting but exhausting experience; a frenzy of people who get up close and personal with the items on sale. If you want the auction experience without the crowds or the crashing sound of the gavel, it’s easier than ever to access online options where the only sound you’ll...

BBB Trends: Don’t fall victim to scammers when renting; research listing before paying deposit

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Finding a new place to live is stressful, and scammers know that people in the midst of moving don’t always have time to do the necessary research. Don’t be one of them. Consider this scenario: You respond to an online rental listing that touts a beautiful home, low rent, and great amenities. It looks legitimate; con artists often use real photos and...

BBB Trends: Put the bite on fake pet-sitting gigs — be sure you know who you are dealing with

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Looking for a pet sitter? (KyForward photo) If you’re a pet sitter and receive a request to watch a potential client’s pet, make sure you know who you’re dealing with. Help Wanted The scam works like this: the pet sitter receives an urgent request by email or text to watch a beloved pet. The message includes basic information like length of time they’re...

BBB Trends: It’s Military Appreciation Month, veterans; advice — beware of pension poachers

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau May is National Military Appreciation Month, an observance that encourages citizens to honor current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and those that perished in the line of duty in pursuit of American freedom. But even the noblest of ideals won’t deter unscrupulous individuals out there looking to make a few quick bucks or steal the identity of the...

BBB Trends: Veteran holiday too often a tie for ‘soundalike’ solicitations; beware of scams

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veteran’s Day are all great holidays to honor the men and women who have served or are currently serving our country. It’s also a great opportunity for scam artists to look like, sound like, and act as a charity when they aren’t. There are numerous nonprofits honorably providing the services veterans need and several more...

BBB Trends: Getting a barrage of robocalls? Technically there may be a solution coming

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau The rise of complaints from consumers and businesses alike about the barrage of robocalls has reached a feverish pitch. As a result, the Federal Communications Commission and cell phone carriers across the nation have released the Caller Verified Program. This reactive measure is to help reduce the number of spam callers and robocalls, as scammers have improved...

BBB Trends: Time for some very important spring cleaning — Clean out your digital data

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau If your closet is feeling a little cluttered, imagine the ‘stuff’ that’s on your digital device? Perhaps the cleaning bug has bit and fortunately, springtime is a great time to add “digital spring cleaning” to your to-do list. There are several easy steps that everyone can do that will go a long way in tidying up digital disorder. Keep a Clean Machine Update...

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: Employment scams top the list for 2018, representing a $50 billion drain on the economy

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Marketplace scams represent a $50 billion drain on the U.S. economy, robbing consumers and legitimate businesses alike. Scams have a negative impact on one in four households and one in five individuals each year. These thieves masquerade as trusted brands, erode consumer confidence in the marketplace and often hide on the internet. Last year, people in the U.S....

BBB: Elder financial abuse continues to increase, yet still goes underreported; quadrupled in four years

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau 
Financial institutions are seeing an increased number of older customers fall prey to financial crimes by perpetrators ranging from offshore scammers, close family members to caregivers. Yet, many of these incidents go unreported or remain unknown to family, friends or relatives when a financial crime happens. According to the Consumer Financial Protection...

BBB Trends: National Consumer Protection Week coming up, designed to help you know your rights

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Are you looking to protect yourself from fraud or identity theft? Maybe you heard something on the news about a scam but didn’t catch the whole story? Perhaps you’re wondering about the best way to establish credit, shop for a used car, or maximize your security online. There is conflicting information on multiple websites, so it may be difficult to determine...

BBB: Government shutdown doesn’t slow down imposters; as watchers aren’t watching, be careful!

The recent Federal Government shutdown is impacting agencies consumers and businesses depend on. Until a resolution is announced, a number of services provided by the FTC, the SBA, and the IRS are unavailable to the public. It also allows an opportunity for scammers posing as a government agency and phish for personal information, so watch out for bogus phone calls, emails, and text messages during...

Better Business Bureau reminding Kentuckians to use caution in contracting repairs after recent storms

The Better Business Bureau is urging Central and Eastern Kentucky home and business owners who suffered property damage and flooding issues from this weekend’s severe storms to research what companies they hire to help rebuild and repair damage. “Disastrous events like the winds and heavy rains that hit the area can act as a magnet for out-of-town contractors to come offering their services. Some...

BBB Study: sweepstakes, lottery, prize schemes devastate older victims with evolving tactics

A new report by Better Business Bureau (BBB) says sweepstakes, lottery, and prize schemes are devastating victims financially and emotionally with ever-evolving methods. These frauds concentrate on seniors, targeting them by direct mail, cold calling, social media, even text messages and smartphone pop-ups. BBB warns consumers to be on guard against these serious and pervasive frauds and their perpetrators. The...