A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

BBB Trends: Face mask exempt cards are phony; DOJ issues warning to consumers about frauds

The U.S. Department of Justice has issued a warning regarding phony face mask exemptions cards. These printable cards found on social media from the Freedom to Breathe Agency claim to be issued by the Americans with Disabilities Act for citizens to be exempt from wearing face masks in public. One card read: “I am exempt from any ordinance requiring face mask usage in public. Wearing a face mask...

BBB Trends: Beware of Memorial Day scams — typically, they are directed at service members

Memorial Day is upon us, which means many people will be preparing for the unofficial start of summer. But more importantly, Memorial Day is a time to honor those who have lost their lives for our country. Unfortunately, scammers use this time of year to take advantage of victims in a variety of schemes with a patriotic or military approach.  BBB warns of the following scams that are typically directed...

BBB Trends: As if a pandemic isn’t enough to worry about, beware of the scammers exploiting the Census

The 2020 U.S. Census is happening at the same time as a global pandemic, shelter-in-place orders and government stimulus payments. Scammers are exploiting these confusing circumstances. How the Scam Works: You receive an unsolicited message via text, email or social media messenger. The message says that to qualify for your stimulus payment, you need to complete the 2020 U.S. Census. Whether or not...

BBB Trends: If stores, restaurants close, here are some tips on gift cards, purchases, warranties

2019 saw the closure of many popular retailers, restaurants and bars around the country — some newer, and some with over 100 years longevity. While these closings have left us in search of new favorite spots to shop and dine, they also might leave us with some questions regarding gift cards, warranties, or recent purchases. BBB provides advice regarding steps you can take if a business suddenly...

BBB Trends: Older people are often targets of scams; here are most common, and how not to be a victim

According to the FBI, if you are age 60 or older, you are a likely target for scammers who sell fraudulent products and services by phone. Scammers know that senior citizens were raised to be polite and trusting, and often find it difficult to just say “no” or hang up the phone. Combined with the knowledge that senior citizens may have savings, own their own home and have excellent credit, these...

BBB Trends: If you are going to one of the many home remodeling shows around, follow these tips

Better Business Bureau Whether you are doing repairs, adding on to your home or renovating a room, you may decide you need help with that project you are finally tackling. Now is the time to plan projects for the upcoming year, and you might find yourself at one of the many home remodeling trade shows offered around the country. These shows highlight the latest must-have features to update any living...

BBB Trends: Businesses expecting big gift returns this year — here are some tips for consumers

National Returns Day is January 2, and UPS is projecting 1.9 million returns this year — a 26% increase from last year. According to a survey of 15,800 consumers by the online retail platform Oracle, 77% of consumers plan to return some of their gifts. Most retailers have return policies in place to protect not only the consumer, but their business as well. If you need to make a return after...

BBB Trends: Beware of Gift chains like ‘Secret Sister’ for the holidays; they are pyramid schemes

The Better Business Bureau is reminding you again this year not to add items for the online “Secret Sister” gift exchange to your holiday shopping list — the exchange and other similar invitations are illegal. The campaign, which began making the rounds in 2015, has again been circulating on social media sites, in particular, Facebook. The post claims that participants will receive dozens...

BBB Trends: Here’s the list (check it twice) wishing consumers to stay scam-free this Christmas

BBB’s Christmas wish this year is for consumers to stay scam-free this holiday season. Report any suspicious activity to www.scamtracker.org. Your BBB is located at 1 East 4th Street Suite 600 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202—to reach the office, call (513) 421-3015.

BBB Trends: Don’t fall victim to porch pirates — get ready to protect your packages from theft

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Online shopping is a great time saver during the holiday season, but the packages shipped are providing a great opportunity for theft. This year the US Postal Service is projecting 800 million package deliveries between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. According to insurancequotes.com and Consumer Affairs reports, almost 26 million packages from the USPS, FedEx...

BBB Trends: Looking for seasonal work? It’s out there but be sure you aren’t tricked by a scammer

By Mallory Weidenbacher Better Business Bureau The holidays are an opportune time to pick up seasonal work and earn extra money for gifts. The National Retail Federation predicts that retailers could add as many as 590,000 new temporary positions this holiday season. Since scammers never take holidays off, BBB encourages you to be cautious of employment scams out in full force this time of year. How...

BBB: Put these shopping tips on your nice list for this holiday season as you plot spending strategies

By Mallory Weidenbacher Better Business Bureau Black Friday and its popular sidekick Cyber Monday mark the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. According to a Deloitte study, this year’s holiday retail spending is expected to exceed $1.1 trillion—almost $1500 per household. Mark your list, check it twice. With less than two weeks until Thanksgiving, Americans are plotting their...

BBB: Looking for easy cash? Be sure to pass on this job (don’t share access to Facebook account)

Giving a stranger access to your Facebook account is generally a bad idea. But so-called “ad launderers” are making an offer some people can’t resist: quick, easy cash. It might sound like a good way to make money, but as the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. How the Scam Works You come across a website that says you can rent out your Facebook account for easy cash...

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: October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month: own it, secure it, protect it

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and National Cyber Security Alliance to ensure everyone has the resources they need to stay safe and secure online. This year’s theme is: Own It. Secure It. Protect It. #BeCyberSmart. Own It. Understand your digital profile. Internet-based digital...

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...