A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

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...

BBB Trends: Contractors beware – dangerous storms bring more than just damage to infrastructure

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Tornado sirens wail. Hail thunders down on the roof and lightning crackles across the sky. The next morning, a tree lies in the living room. The siding is pockmarked with dents from hail and the yard is littered with debris. Some guy gets out of a pickup truck with out-of-state license plates and makes his way up to the front door of the damaged home. It’s a...

BBB Trends: Roll out of chip embedded credit and debit cards has businesses ‘slammed’ with scams

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau The slow roll out of the chip embedded credit/debit cards is providing an opportunity for scammers to slide in with a slamming scam. The term slamming refers to a deceptive sales practice intended to switch a business’ service provider without the retailer’s consent or knowledge. Typically, the scammer poses as the retailer’s credit card processing agent....

‘Ring and run’ scam plaguing cell phone users; KSP urges citizens not to return calls

The Kentucky State Police is warning cell phone users to be aware of a new scam called “The One-Ring Scam.” Better Business Bureaus across the country are seeing a rash of reports of “ring and runs” on cell phones where returning a missed call from an unknown number may cost you.   KSP spokesman Sgt. Michael Webb says scammers profit from individuals who are curious enough to...