A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

BBB Trends: National Consumer Protection Week coming up, designed to help you know your rights

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Are you looking to protect yourself from fraud or identity theft? Maybe you heard something on the news about a scam but didn’t catch the whole story? Perhaps you’re wondering about the best way to establish credit, shop for a used car, or maximize your security online. There is conflicting information on multiple websites, so it may be difficult to determine...

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...