A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

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...