As 2019 begins, Better Business Bureau (BBB) has developed 10 resolutions that can help you fight scammers, prevent identity theft and find trustworthy businesses and charities in the coming year.
“Consumers can protect themselves from fraud by knowing the red flags of common scams, researching businesses before they buy and getting every contract in writing,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB president and CEO. “BBB Business Profiles and BBB Charity Reviews offer verified information that is available 24/7 on the BBB website. The website also has tips to help consumers with many common transactions.”
BBB Scam Tracker is a great tool for reporting scams or finding out whether that email, text or phone call you got claiming to be from the IRS or trying to collect a debt was legitimate or a scam. More than 44,000 scam reports have been filed nationwide since BBB Scam Tracker came online with losses totaling more than $2 billion. BBB provides the tool to help consumers track scams that are occurring in their regions.
The following resolutions can help consumers have a safe, fraud-free 2019:
1. Check a business out with BBB before you buy. Nearly 400,000 businesses meet BBB Standards of Trust and are qualified to use an Accredited Business seal on their websites and at business locations. Visit bbb.org to find BBB Business Profiles for 5.3 million businesses across North America.
2. Be skeptical if you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS. The IRS doesn’t call people or email them to inform them of taxes or penalties due nor does it threaten to arrest or sue taxpayers.
3. Always read the fine print—especially with “free” trial offers.
4. Keep your computer safe. Install anti-virus software on your computer and check regularly for software and operating system updates and patches.
5. Never wire money to someone you don’t know.
6. Fight identity theft. Shred paper documents that include sensitive financial data and dispose of computers, cell phones and digital data safely.
7. Ask BBB for help. File a complaint with BBB if you have a dispute with a business or have been ripped off by a scammer.
8. Don’t give to fraudulent charities. BBB advises consumers to research charities carefully before making a donation.
9. Fight fake check fraud. Thanks to advances in printing technology, scammers have the ability to create professional-looking phony checks. Be extremely wary of checks that come with claims that you’ve won a lottery, are eligible for a government grant or have landed a job as a secret shopper.
10. Get everything in writing.