A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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: 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: 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: 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...

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: Dreamers welcomed; SBA says small businesses create 2-of-3 new jobs each year in U.S.

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Small businesses create two out of three new jobs in the United States each year, according to the Small Business Administration -— just one of many examples of the way small businesses have been positively impacting our economy for decades. It was in 1963 that the United States Administration set aside an entire week to recognize small businesses; since then,...

BBB Trends: Before the image leaves pawprints on your heart, check the source

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau March 23 is National Puppy Day, and if your family is considering adding a furry friend to the family, there are many things to think about when purchasing a pet – like how to get stains out of the carpet or what valuables to tuck out of the way from being chewed up. The most important detail to consider is whether or not your family is ready to take on...

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: 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...