A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

BBB Trends: The ten riskiest scams of 2019 — cryptocurrency near top of the list for the first time

Two years ago, cryptocurrency scams were just emerging as a problem on BBB Scam Tracker, mostly a subset of investment scams. The Better Business Bureau added cryptocurrency as a scam category in 2019 and it leapt to the second riskiest scam, according to the latest BBB report, New Risks and Emerging Technologies: 2019 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report. Although employment scams remained the riskiest for...

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: You will resolve to get fit, lose weight, etc., but fully understand the gym membership

Is a gym membership on your list of New Year resolutions? If so, you’re not alone. Gyms and fitness centers experience a surge in new memberships every January. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle, or adopt a healthier lifestyle, committing to a gym can be a challenge–especially when there are so many options available. How do you know which gym is the best fit for your needs?...

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...

Better Business Bureau study shows rental fraud pervasive among home, vacation property listings

The place seems like a dream come true: the right space, the right location, the right price. But is it really for rent? Or will the renter or traveler arrive to find their money gone with nowhere to stay? An in-depth investigative study by Better Business Bureau (BBB) finds that fraud is widespread in the online rental home and vacation rental market, with 43 percent of online shoppers encountering...

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: 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: Honor Veteran’s Day with a wise contribution to a charity that really helps veterans

Veterans Day, formerly declared as Armistice Day in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson, is an opportunity to show your support for those who have served or are currently serving our country through volunteer service projects, raising an American flag or making a charitable donation. It is next Monday, November 11. However, the holiday provides the chance for scammers to target military personnel, especially...

BBB Trends: How scammers use political issues to get your attention — and your money, personal info

Better Business Bureau You’ve likely received a robocall before. A recorded voice offers you an unbeatable deal or claims to be someone they are not. In a new twist, scammers are using hotly debated political issues to grab your attention. These con artists take advantage of buzzy, emotionally-charged news stories to trick unsuspecting consumers into falling for a scam. Beware, the election season...

BBB Trends: Some Spootacular tips for Halloween so you can enjoy more treats than tricks

Shopping for Halloween should be fun — not terrifying. With so many costume and decoration ideas, it’s hard to choose what to buy, and where to buy it from. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Halloween spending for 2019 is expected to reach $8.8 billion, with consumers planning to spend an average of $86.27 each. According to the NRF survey, among Halloween celebrants, 69 percent...

BBB Trends: New research shows how scammers victimize consumers — and what you can do about it

Better Business Bureau New fraud research shows that people who live alone or have low financial literacy levels are more likely to lose money to fraudsters. The research also shows that the highest engagement and victimization rates involve online purchases and social media—outpacing telephone, mail and email fraud. Click image to download full report The report, “Exposed to Scams: What Separates...

BBB study reveals business email compromise scams skyrocketing, costing businesses $3 billion

An in-depth investigative study by Better Business Bureau finds that business email compromise scams are skyrocketing in frequency and have cost businesses and other organizations nationwide more than $3 billion since 2016. Business email compromise fraud is an email phishing scam that typically targets people who pay bills in businesses, government and nonprofit organizations. It affects both big...

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: The (cyber)truth is out there, and we should care. Are you tuned out to dangers that lurk?

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Capital One, Facebook, Equifax, and Yahoo. Four very different companies with one big thing in common: they’ve all been at the center of a breaking news story as victims of a cyber attack. In each case, someone or some group has managed to break into the company electronically, pilfer through files and access what is considered protected data. By all assumptions,...

BBB Trends: Mindful, effective giving in times of tragedy; figure out where to give before the disaster

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau When we see tragic events unfolding, such as natural disasters or tragic shootings, the first thing we want to do is fix it—right now! Unfortunately, that’s not exactly the way things work. Major disasters take time to sort out and recover from, and the charities that provide support need help long before the disaster or tragedy strikes. When donations are...