A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

BBB Trends: Get a call from an Unknown Number? Leave it alone — this is still the best advice

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau When was the last time you received a phone call from someone you actually wanted to hear from? Or, the phone number on the Caller ID was from a person or place that you recognized? Experts are saying cell phone owners are drowning in a sea of robo-calls: U.S. phones were inundated with 26.3 billion robo-calls last year, that’s a 46% increase from the 18 billion...

BBB Trends: Let me call you sweetheart anytime of the year — but don’t be heartbroken by a scammer

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Online dating and matchmaking apps have made it easier than ever to meet new people and find a date – but that means they’ve made scammers’ work simpler too. Technology like this allows scam artists to create compelling backstories and fully-fledged identities in order to trick victims into helping someone who doesn’t even exist. It’s the basic framework...

BBB Trends: Check out home remodeling shows for ideas on your updates, but read contracts carefully

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Home remodeling shows highlight the latest and greatest must-have features to update any living space. 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 on the spot. After returning from the show, sift through the information, select...

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...

BBB: Returning gifts? Be timely — and check the store’s return policies; return frauders are at work too

Did you receive a sweater for Christmas that’s too small?  Three copies of the same movie on DVD?  Chances are you will be among those who are now trying to return or exchange gifts at retailers this week. Better Business Bureau® serving Central & Eastern Kentucky reminds you that sellers have policies in place to protect their businesses from “return fraud” as well as make customers...

BBB Trends: A look back to look forward — but both ways, there are still scams to be aware of

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau As the year comes to a close, now is the time that many people look back and reflect on all that happened in order to get ready for the year ahead, and BBB is no different. Unfortunately, scammers stay the same from year to year and will continue to work to steal important information from people. To help consumers deter them, BBB has compiled scam information...

BBB Trends: Naughty, not nice — watch for scammers (the Scrooges!) this holiday season

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau The 2018 holiday season is here and with it comes an abundance of activities – like trimming trees, decking the halls, and plenty of to-do lists. This provides scammers plenty of perfect opportunities to use people’s distraction for their own gain. Some scam artists got an early start, swapping out UPC codes on the backside of gift cards with fake ones...

BBB Trends: Protect your holiday packages from being stolen; porch pirates threaten holiday cheer

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Online shopping is a great time saver during the holiday season but the shipped packages left on the doorstep provide a great opportunity for theft. According to insurancequotes.com, 26 million Americans have had holiday packages stolen from their homes since 2015. This often happens because people aren’t home when items are delivered, allowing thieves...

BBB Trends: All is calm, all is bright — but here are a few tips to keep at lease some control of the chaos

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau The hectic pace of the holidays is here. With it comes to do lists, family visits, holiday shopping, and get-togethers with friends. It’s also a time when our attention gets diverted away from checking important little details like our how our personal information is being used, what wi-fi connection we’re using and not quite checking out charity requests....

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...