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BBB Offers 10 Resolutions For A Safe, Scam-Free New Year

Clearwater, FL - Dec. 30, 2013 – With the New Year at hand, Better Business Bureau(BBB) has 10 resolutions that can help you fight scammers, prevent identity theft and save money in 2014. 

“When consumers research a business before they invest they can save a lot of time, trouble and money by finding companies they can Trust,” said Karen Nalven, President of BBB Serving West Florida. “Your Better Business Bureau provides Free BBB Business Reviews on companies and charities by doing a simple search at bbb.org and they’re available 24/7.”

The following resolutions can help consumers have a safe, scam-free 2014:

  1. Always check a business out with BBB before you buy.  Nearly 400,000 businesses meet BBB standards and are qualified to use an Accredited Business seal on their websites and at business locations.  Visit www.bbb.org to find BBB Business Reviews for nearly 4 million businesses across North America. 

  2. Be skeptical of “job offers” that promise easy money. With high unemployment and long job searches common, scammers are targeting people desperate to find jobs. Beware of any job offer, work-at-home scheme or business opportunity that promises big money for little work and no experience.

  3. Always read the fine print—especially with “free” trial offers.Thousands of consumers complained to BBB this year after signing up for a “free” trial offer online that resulted in repeated charges to their credit or debit cards, sometimes amounting to hundreds of dollars every month. Read the terms and conditions of any “free” trial offer before handing over credit or debit card numbers. 

  4. Keep your computer safe. If you haven’t already done so, install anti-virus software on your computer and check regularly for software and operating system updates and patches. Don’t open attachments or click on links in emails unless you can confirm the email came from someone you trust. 

  5. Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Many scams require that the victim wire money back to the scammers. Scammers know that tracking money sent via MoneyGram or Western Union is extremely difficult. Once you’ve wired the money, it’s nearly impossible to get it back.
     
  6. Fight identity theft. Shred paper documents that include sensitive financial data and dispose of computers, cell phones and digital data safely. BBB offers tips and checklists on what to shred, and hosts annual Secure Your ID events nationwide to help you stay safe.

  7. Ask BBB for help. File a complaint with BBB if you have a disagreement with a business or have been ripped off by a scammer.

  8. Create a budget and stick to it. Setting a budget can help you stay afloat in 2011. The BBB has advice on how to create a budget to help you get out of debt and stay out of debt at www.bbb.org

  9. Fight fake check fraud. Thanks to advances in printing technology, scammers have the ability to create professional-looking phony checks. Educate yourself on the common types of check fraud and be extremely wary of checks that come with claims that you’ve won the lottery, are eligible for a government grant or have landed a job as a secret shopper. These are almost always scams.

  10. Get everything in writing. Don’t just take a company’s word for it. Get every verbal agreement in writing to limit miscommunication and misunderstandings between what you expect and what the business delivers.

Consumers can learn how to protect themselves or find BBB Business Reviewsof businesses or charities by going online to www.bbb.org.

About BBB Serving West Florida

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2012, consumers turned to BBB 124 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Better Business Bureau Serving West Florida provides business reviews on companies within its 11 county service area to include: Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, Desoto, Charlotte, Lee & Collier.  For reliable tips, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by industry and BBB Business Reviews you can trust on local businesses, visit www.bbb.org.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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