A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Central Kentucky computer users targeted by phone scammers to steal money, personal information

Central Kentucky computer users are being targeted by a phone scam claiming that they are owed “refunds” by well-known computer technical support companies. The calls are really from scammers trying to steal money and personal information. A Fleming County woman tells Better Business Bureau serving Central & Eastern Kentucky that she received a phone call saying she was being billed $499...

BBB Trends: Don’t cash that check! Fake check schemes are on the rise — be cautious

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau People are writing fewer checks in this era of electronic financial transactions. Despite this, fake check scams are on the rise. Fake checks are used in a variety of frauds, from employment scams to prize and sweepstakes fraud. In all reported cases of check fraud, victims deposit the check and send money back to scammers. Complaints to regulatory agencies...

BBB Trends: Nanny job may sound too good to be true; scammers could be trying to get your money

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau The school year has begun and for many families, it may be necessary to find a babysitter or nanny to ease the pressure of a hectic schedule. If you’re in the market for such a job, be wary of the posting descriptions that sound promising. The posting may read as a family seeking a nanny offering a great salary with wonderful working conditions. For example,...

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...

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 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: No rest from cybercriminals as some $50b is lost to fraud each year; have strong password

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau More than $50 billion is lost to financial fraud each year and most of it is committed online simply by accessing an unsecured website or not having a strong password. Without having either protections in place, thieves are able to quickly make a profit and commit identity theft using information that is easily accessible. Crimes are Committed With A Click The...

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: Review details before approving a contract for home remodeling project

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Home remodeling shows highlight the latest and greatest must-have features to update any living space, and they’re a good way to gather information and ideas for a new project. 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...

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: Be sure your wallet isn’t the only thing getting thinner if you are joining a gym in New Year

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Joining a Gym? Make sure your wallet isn’t the only thing getting thinner in the new year. A new year brings New Year’s resolutions, and if 2018 follows the trend of years past, the number one goal for many people in the U.S. will be to lose weight. After the indulgence of the holiday season, advertisements for gym memberships can feel especially difficult...

BBB: Keep you tax information safe from scammers; tax identity is largest segment of theft

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau When consumers and business owners take their receipts in for tax filing season, they’re counting on the person preparing their taxes to keep their information safe. Tax preparers are bound by federal law to keep things confidential from cyber thieves, but despite their best efforts, tax identity theft still accounts for the largest segment of personal identity...

Beshear urges victims of fraud involving Western Union in KY to file claims; 7000 eligible for $6.7m

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announced today that Kentuckians who have been victims of fraud induced wire transfers involving Western Union need to begin filing claims as part of a global settlement reached January with the company. An estimated 7,000 Kentuckians are eligible for roughly $6.7 million in claims. Kentuckians who reported to Western Union, the Federal Trade Commission or Beshear’s...

Better Business Bureau says before taking flight, check it all out and know the risks of how-you-book

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is one of the busiest travel times of the year. That means the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are some of the most popular times for people looking for deals on flights out of town. There are a number of options to choose from, which makes it difficult to know how to get the most for your money....

BBB Trends: Eyes to the skies safety means you have to protect your eyes with right Eclipse glasses

Sky-gazers across the country will watch in awe as the moon silently covers the sun Monday, August 21. Although two to five solar eclipses occur each on average, a total solar eclipse happens just once every 18 months. If you’re planning to watch, do so safely with the right eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers and the kind that actually protects your eyes. Start by making sure that the glasses...

Beshear files lawsuit against Nicholasville’s Auto Plaza USA for Consumer Protection Act violations

State Attorney General Andy Beshear filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Fayette Circuit Court against The United Group Inc., also known as Auto Plaza USA, in Nicholasville for deceptive business practices. According to the lawsuit, the defendant, with the dealership located at 2000 Vince Rd., in Nicholasville, violated Kentucky’s Consumer Protection Act by defrauding more than 1,400 customers. “Every...

BBB Trends: Happy 4th — and remember you have a right to fair treatment by businesses

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau This Fourth of July, Uncle Sam and the Better Business Bureau have a couple of reminders: First, have a safe, happy holiday and enjoy your Independence Day activities.    Second, scammers may not take time off, but you deserve a day away from worry.   Keep your Fourth of July holiday safe and scam-free with these tips:   1 Never give out your personal information...

BBB Trends: No rest from cybercriminals — think before you click because someone is out there

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau More than $50 billion is lost to financial fraud each year and most of it is committed online simply by accessing an unsecured website or not having a strong password. Without having either protections in place, thieves are able to quickly make a profit and commit identity theft using information that is easily accessible.   Crimes are committed with a click The...

BBB Trends: To keep your summer yard and garage sales safe, keep on the look-out for scammers

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Summertime is ripe with opportunities to explore, and some of the best adventures can be had at quirky flea markets, out-of-the-way estate auctions, and weekend garage sales. Hosting a sale might also be a good way to clean out the closets and make room for that new summer wardrobe. To make sure your summer sales are safe, keep an eye out for scammers. Lock...

BBB Trends: Being a Secret Shopper sounds too good to be true; is there a scam behind it?

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau You’ve been invited to check out a favorite retailer to secretly shop their store and evaluate the quality of service, product availability and the best part – keep the items plus earn a paycheck. It really does sound like a too good to be true opportunity, however, such a job does exist and is sanctioned by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA)...