A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

BBB Trends: Dreaming of starting your own business? National Small Business Week coming up

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau A dream starts out as just that – a dream, a doodle on a napkin, a far-fetched idea with intangible edges. Then, details of those dreams become clearer and clearer, with practical steps hashed out over a cup of coffee. Concepts are built in basements and garages, backyard sheds and barn floors. A spark is ignited into a passion so strong it drives a person...

BBB Trends: Spring cleaning includes keeping up with your digital data; update and back it up

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau Spring time is a great time of year to add “digital spring cleaning” to your to do list. A NCSA survey found that preventing identity theft is a top safety concern for Americans but there are often other distractions that get in the way of actually getting around to updating security measures. Fortunately, there are several easy steps that everyone can do...

BBB Trends: Effective now, if you owe IRS money you might get a phone call from a private collector

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau If you owe the IRS money, chances are you’ve already received something from them reminding you that still have an outstanding debt. Starting April 2017, you may also receive a phone call from a private collection agency (PCA) approved by the IRS to follow up and collect on back taxes. This new practice goes against many news reports stating that the IRS doesn’t...

BBB Trends: Learn some strategies for dealing with your money during Financial Literacy Month

By Sandra Guile Better Business Bureau April is Financial Literacy Month and it doesn’t hurt to review some tried and true strategies for dealing with money, from saving to spending to borrowing. The key to balancing all three strategies is understanding the best practices for each.   Budget Carefully Be realistic when budgeting for regular needs – like your house, your car, your food, and...

BBB Trends: Reputation is everything in business, so be aware of scammers trying to use your good name

By Sandra Guile Special to KyForward Your reputation is everything in business, so when a scammer uses your business name to get people to give them personal information, it can cause major problems. People tend to be wary of a company after a scam, even if the business wasn’t directly involved. To try and minimize the damage, offering advice and support quickly and effectively can restore customers’...