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 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....

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 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...

Online shopping is a great convenience, but be careful about delivery — porch pirates at work

By Sandra Guile Special to KyForward 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, 25.9 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: Happy 4th — and remember you have a right to fair treatment by businesses

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau This Fourth of July, Uncle Sam and the Better Business Bureau have a couple of reminders: First, have a safe, happy holiday and enjoy your Independence Day activities.    Second, scammers may not take time off, but you deserve a day away from worry.   Keep your Fourth of July holiday safe and scam-free with these tips:   1 Never give out your personal information...

BBB Trends: No rest from cybercriminals — think before you click because someone is out there

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 Trends: To keep your summer yard and garage sales safe, keep on the look-out for scammers

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Summertime is ripe with opportunities to explore, and some of the best adventures can be had at quirky flea markets, out-of-the-way estate auctions, and weekend garage sales. Hosting a sale might also be a good way to clean out the closets and make room for that new summer wardrobe. To make sure your summer sales are safe, keep an eye out for scammers. Lock...

BBB Trends: Being a Secret Shopper sounds too good to be true; is there a scam behind it?

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau You’ve been invited to check out a favorite retailer to secretly shop their store and evaluate the quality of service, product availability and the best part – keep the items plus earn a paycheck. It really does sound like a too good to be true opportunity, however, such a job does exist and is sanctioned by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA)...

BBB Trends: Veterans holidays are a time for sound-alike solicitations; beware of scams and pressure

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 like a charity when they aren’t. There are numerous nonprofits honorably providing the services veterans need and several more that support active military personnel...

BBB Trends: And they call it . . . puppy love — scammers fool consumers with fake advertisements

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau They’re adorable, they’re irresistible, they may very well be a way to scam you. Scammers have started creating ads with pictures of fluffy, cuddle-worthy puppies to entice you into clicking a link to a fake website. If you send them money to adopt one of the potential pets you see, you’ll most likely end up pretty disappointed. Common tactics Each...

BBB Trends: Students owe $1.3 trillion in loans — new grads should be alert to scammers, get real help

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Right now there is over $1.3 trillion owed to student loans. With billions of dollars being borrowed by students each year, it’s understandable that new grads are looking for help when trying to pay their loans back. Scammers know this and use it to their advantage; they’ll often offer services that they don’t follow through on, causing even more repayment...

BBB Trends: Avoid a messy move, no matter where you are going — what to know about your mover

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Whether it’s across the street, across town, or across state lines, moving takes planning and packing. Even when you’re prepared, oftentimes problems come up. Scams involving moving companies are increasingly common and can happen to anyone, so it’s important to get the facts before you pack the truck. Choosing someone to pick up all of your belongings...