A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

BBB Trends: Bugged by robocalls? If you can’t block them, then report them; there’s something you can do

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau You’ve tried ignoring, blocking, teasing and hanging up on these annoying robocalls. Nothing seems to work. Is anyone doing anything about them? The short answer — yes. (Click for link) The Federal Trade Commission is taking aggressive action in concert with law enforcement, the court system, wireless carriers, and Congress to tackle this complicated issue....

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: Looking for a garage sale deal — you aren’t alone; beware of the cons

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Summer is ripe with signs for estate sales, garage sales, and weekend flea market explorations. It’s also a great time to find a great deal, discover an antique or find the perfect decorative item that will look fabulous in your house. You’re not the only one looking for a steal, con artists are too. Lock It Up Having a yard sales isn’t necessarily a dangerous...

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: Be aware of some common summertime scams — and please avoid them; here are some tips

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Before stowing the winter coat and slathering on the sunscreen, read up about some common summertime scams, and be on the watch for those that might be targeting you. Concert and Festival Tickets Food, fun and music just go together during the summer months. If you haven’t already, you’ll be seeing plenty of postings for food, art and music events on various...

Better Business Bureau warns of ‘electricity shutoff’ phone scam targeting Central Kentucky

Better Business Bureau serving Central & Eastern Kentucky has heard from local businesses this week that received calls from scammers posing as Kentucky Utilities, threatening that their power would be shut off immediately if they did not pay their bill by phone right away. These businesses also said that when they called back numbers left by the scammers, the voice greeting sounded exactly the...

BBB Trends: Hitting the road? Watch for these common schemes targeting travelers — happy trip!

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau The summer travel season is here and many people are getting ready or have already left to enjoy a little time off. Unfortunately, there are some common tricks travelers fall for if they’re not careful. Fake Websites: scammers make billions of dollars taking money from unsuspecting travelers who book online. Then when the person arrives at the destination, sometimes...

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...

Don’t return the call: FCC warns of ‘One Ring’ phone scam sweeping several states around the nation

Better Business Bureau serving Central & Eastern Kentucky is warning residents to beware of the “one ring” phone scam that federal officials say is sweeping several states around the U.S. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Friday warned of waves of the “one ring” scam targeting specific area codes in bursts, often calling several times in the overnight hours. FCC officials...

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: Unsettled weather? Beware of lurking storm chasers — don’t let emotions get best of you

Storm chasers are people who follow severe weather hoping to get business from victims whose homes have been damaged by storms. They follow weather reports and sometimes will arrive in town before the storm even hits and are ready to pounce as soon as the weather breaks. After the storm hits, they’ll target areas hardest hit by damage because they “just so happen” to notice the homes have storm...

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: 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: 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...