A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

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: 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...