• December 9, 2019

Odessa American: BBB Column

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BBB: Common holiday scams

The holiday season has officially begun, and the average consumer has a lot to do: shop for gifts, prepare for family, make travel arrangements, plan holiday meals and more. Unfortunately, this is also a busy season for scammers looking to steal your money or personal information. With your mind on finding the perfect gifts and best deals, they hope you won’t be watching for fraud. That’s why your Better Business Bureau is here to remind you of common holiday scams to help you stay sharp this season:

More From Top Story

Sunday 11/10/2019
BBB: Avoiding advance fee loan scams this holiday season
Posted: November 10, 2019 - 5:00 am

November is here, and consumers are preparing for the holidays. The season has become known for being hectic and stressful, as people travel to see family and attempt to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones without breaking the bank. It can also be a time of making big purchases for your home and family, since many businesses put costly items like cars and furniture on sale.

Sunday 11/03/2019
BBB: Scam risk study
Posted: November 03, 2019 - 5:00 am

Approximately one in 10 U.S. adults are victims of fraud every year. In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received over 372,000 fraud complaints. With fraud being such a common issue, it becomes easy to wonder, “What separates victims from non-victims?” There isn’t a superior kind of person that is immune to scams, and even those who consider themselves savvy can find themselves a victim if they aren’t careful and informed.

Sunday 10/27/2019
BBB: National Cybersecurity Month
Posted: October 27, 2019 - 5:00 am

Since 2004, The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) has recognized October as National Cybersecurity Month. Cybersecurity remains a relevant issue for businesses and consumers alike. We rely on our phones, computers and even our watches for everyday tasks. However, we also trust these devices with our most sensitive information. Mobile payment and banking apps require financial information which is sent electronically. Hard copies of important documents and valued photos are becoming rare, because they can be easily stored on phones and laptops.

Sunday 10/20/2019
BBB: Census Scams
Posted: October 20, 2019 - 5:00 am

As 2019 draws to a close, a new decade will be here before we know it. However, as we usher in a new era, there is business to be taken care of; namely, the census. The deadline to take part in the national event is April 1, so you’re likely to hear a lot from the United States Census Bureau until then.

Sunday 10/13/2019
BBB: Halloween tips
Posted: October 13, 2019 - 12:00 pm

It’s the creepiest, spookiest time of year, but things really get scary when you think about how much money you’re about to spend on Halloween. Candy, costumes and decorations can really add up. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), an estimated $8.8 billion will be spent this Halloween, with the individual consumer spending an average of $86.27.

Sunday 10/06/2019
BBB: Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Posted: October 06, 2019 - 12:00 pm

According to breastcancer.org, one in every eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. The CDC stated in 2016 that breast cancer is the most common cancer found in women, regardless of race or ethnicity. It was more than twice as common as lung and bronchus cancer, the second most common type.

Sunday 09/29/2019
BBB: Heater repair tips
Posted: September 29, 2019 - 12:15 am

As of September 23, autumn is officially here, and while the truly chilly weather is still on its way to Texas, now is the time to know where to turn for heater maintenance and repairs. It’s important to know ahead of time who you want to go to in case your furnace wears out. When you’re stressed, cold and in a hurry, you may not stop to think if a repair person is truly trustworthy.

Sunday 09/22/2019
BBB: September is National Preparedness Month!
Posted: September 22, 2019 - 12:15 am

You can never know exactly when disaster will strike, and in the moment, all you should have to think about is getting yourself and your family to safety. That’s why September is National Preparedness Month, a time that reminds us to plan ahead for whatever may be coming. Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas offers these tips to keep you prepared:

Sunday 09/15/2019
BBB: Genetic testing fraud
Posted: September 15, 2019 - 12:15 am

DNA testing is a practice that is becoming more common in the medical field. According to the National Institutes of Health, one of the main benefits of genetic testing is the ability to make more informed decisions about the future of your healthcare.

Sunday 09/08/2019
BBB: Grandparent’s Day
Posted: September 08, 2019 - 12:15 am

Today is Grandparents’ Day, when we get to celebrate the love and appreciation we have for Gramps and Nana. Chances are your grandparents looked out for you, and Grandparents’ Day is chance to return the favor. Better Business Bureau suggests taking a few minutes to learn how we can protect them from scammers looking to steal their money.

Sunday 09/01/2019
BBB: Ransomware attacks across Texas
Posted: September 01, 2019 - 12:15 am

Texas made headlines around the world as news broke of ransomware attacks on 22 municipalities across the state. The attacks happened on the morning of August 16 and seemed to target the local governments of mostly rural towns. What does this mean? Ransomware allows hackers to remotely encrypt computers, locking out the primary users.

Sunday 08/25/2019
BBB: Don’t fall for ticket scams this autumn
Posted: August 25, 2019 - 12:15 am

Fall is an exciting time in Texas for many reasons, but one reason may loom above the rest: football. The NFL season begins September 5, but here in Texas, the real draws kick off on August 24 with college football. Little compares to the combined electricity of school pride and Texas football, which is why consumers are willing to spend a pretty penny on good tickets. Tickets for 50-yard line seats at the UT vs. LSU game are going for $1,500 on StubHub. A club seat for the Texas A&M vs. Alabama game could cost you $2,500. Are you the kind of person that prefers music and festivals over sports? Concertgoers travel from across the country to attend the Austin City Limits Music Festival every October. If you’re looking to StubHub to get your tickets, a general admission three-day pass sells for over $1,400 (without VIP access).

Sunday 08/18/2019
BBB: Giving after tragedy
Posted: August 18, 2019 - 12:15 am

After tragic events occurred across the country recently, including a shooting in El Paso, communities are mobilizing to help those affected. Many are angry or grieving, and many are looking for the road to recovery. Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas applauds those who are offering what they can, and we are here to help as well, by advising consumers on the best ways they can give wisely after tragedies.

Sunday 08/11/2019
BBB: Tips from your BBB on handling a data breach
Posted: August 11, 2019 - 12:15 am

Major companies have made headlines recently after data breaches have left their customers’ sensitive information unprotected. While some consumers were compensated, many are left wondering what to do if they find themselves in a similar situation. Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas is here with tips on what to do to protect yourself after a data breach.

Sunday 08/04/2019
BBB: Appliance repair scams
Posted: August 04, 2019 - 12:15 am

In the heat of the summer, some household appliances work overtime. If you find yourself in need of repairs, your first instinct may be to do a quick search for the brand’s customer service line and call. However, scammers are posing as customer service representatives to steal your money and information.

Sunday 07/28/2019
BBB: Tips on surviving back-to-school season
Posted: July 28, 2019 - 12:15 am

July marks the official beginning of back-to-school season, and if you or your child are headed back to school, it may be an overwhelming time. The National Retail Federation predicts an average of $696.70 will be spent by families with students in elementary through high school, and an average of $976.78 spent by families with college students. Both amounts are higher than last year’s averages.

Sunday 07/21/2019
BBB: July is Military Consumer Month
Posted: July 21, 2019 - 12:15 am

Military Consumer Month comes around each July, and it is a time to reflect on the challenges service members face as they return to civilian life. It’s also a time when organizations like Better Business Bureau can help guide military families through the marketplace to find businesses they can trust.

Sunday 07/14/2019
BBB: WhatsApp scams on the rise
Posted: July 14, 2019 - 12:15 am

Over the years, technology has given scammers increasing opportunities to reach consumers. Phones have been used for decades, but in more recent years, email, text and social media have given fraud a faster way to reach targets. Now scammers are discovering WhatsApp, a free communication platform popular for keeping in touch with friends and family in other countries.

Sunday 07/07/2019
BBB: Businesses beware of square phishing con
Posted: July 07, 2019 - 12:15 am

Many small businesses accept payments through Square. For a small fee on each transaction, Square can turn a smartphone or iPad into a payment station. But scammers are taking advantage of the service’s popularity by sending phishing emails that appear to be official correspondence.

Sunday 06/30/2019
BBB: Torch Awards 2019 kicking off!
Posted: June 30, 2019 - 12:15 am

Monday, June 24 marks the beginning of the 2019 BBB Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics! The award promotes the importance of ethical business practices and highlights the willingness and efforts made by local businesses that demonstrate a dedication to marketplace trust. Entries open Monday, June 24, 2019, and close Friday, September 6, 2019.

Sunday 06/23/2019
BBB: Twist on phishing scam targets small business owners
Posted: June 23, 2019 - 4:00 am

Most people are familiar with how a basic phishing scam works: links or attachments in emails or messages from scammers can download malware onto your devices that allow them access to your personal information. Recently, Better Business Bureau released a warning about a new twist on phishing scams, one that specifically targets small business owners.

Sunday 06/16/2019
BBB: Scammers posing as local priests, pastors in charity scam
Posted: June 16, 2019 - 12:15 am

Reports from Midland, Waco and Fort Worth have revealed a charity scam on the rise. Scammers are posing as local priests and pastors in order to text and call local consumers asking for gift cards or wire transfers, allegedly for charitable purposes. It is always important to be aware if someone approaches you asking for a donation, even if they claim to be a trustworthy figure or representing a good cause, to do your research before giving to the charity.

Sunday 06/09/2019
BBB: Social Security scams on the rise
Posted: June 09, 2019 - 2:30 am

Tax season is over, and consumers are breathing a sigh of relief. With guards down, now is the perfect time for scammers to strike. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning people about suspicious calls as scammers are increasing efforts to steal personal information and Social Security numbers in order to file fraudulent tax returns.

Sunday 06/02/2019
BBB: Staying safe with summer jobs!
Posted: June 02, 2019 - 4:00 am

School may be out for the summer, but the hunt for a summer job may still be in full force. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 20 million people between the ages of 16 and 24 worked summer jobs in 2018. Whether a student is working to get gas money to drive around with friends for the first time or saving for the upcoming college semester, they only have a few months to make that extra cash. But, there is a concern. Scammers may be on the prowl to take advantage of these young job seekers through employment scams.

Sunday 05/26/2019
BBB: May is National Moving Month!
Posted: May 26, 2019 - 4:00 am

May is the busiest month of the year for switching residences, which is one reason it has been designated as National Moving Month. May tends to be the time students are moving to and from college, as well as when people tend to take advantage of better weather to move their belongings. Whatever the reason, it is always beneficial to watch out for scams and untrustworthy businesses so you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim.

Sunday 05/19/2019
BBB: Flood damage? Better Business Bureau is here to help
Posted: May 19, 2019 - 4:00 am

Severe thunderstorms have passed through multiple parts of Texas this past week, and more could be on the way this month. With the amount of rainfall already saturating the ground, some creeks and rivers in Texas are already past flood stage, causing some homes and businesses to be affected by water damage.

Sunday 05/12/2019
BBB Tip: Shopping for Mother’s Day
Posted: May 12, 2019 - 8:15 am

Sunday, May 12 is Mother’s Day, and it will be here before you know it. Take time to show mom how much you appreciate all she does for you, with quality time or thoughtful gifts. The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects consumers to spend more on Mother’s Day in 2019 than they have in the past. They project nearly $25 billion will be spent altogether on the holiday, with an average of $196.47 per consumer.

Sunday 05/05/2019
BBB celebrates National Small Business Week
Posted: May 05, 2019 - 8:45 am

May 5-11 is National Small Business Week, an event that recognizes the important contributions made by American entrepreneurs and their small businesses. In honor of the event, Better Business Bureau will be giving several presentations in cities throughout the region warning businesses about potential scams that could pop up, so they can better protect themselves.

Sunday 04/28/2019
BBB: April is Financial Literacy Month!
Posted: April 28, 2019 - 8:45 am

Before April comes to a close, Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas wants to recognize Financial Literacy Month. Many nonprofits and government agencies are using this opportunity to remind consumers of the importance of knowing how to properly manage their money. Whether you’re a teenager in school or planning to retire soon, BBB has a variety of resources available on various aspects of protecting your finances.

Sunday 04/21/2019
BBB: Interested in buying or selling a used car? Beware of these scams!
Posted: April 21, 2019 - 8:45 am

More often these days, people are turning online when looking to either buy or sell a used car. It may seem like an easier option than going to a dealership and you may find a lower price.

Sunday 04/07/2019
BBB Tips: Keeping cool and finding trustworthy AC repair
Posted: April 07, 2019 - 8:30 am

Slowly but surely, that famous Texas heat is returning, and will be back in full force before we know it. With such high temperatures in the near future, it’s important to be prepared in case you begin experiencing problems with your air conditioning unit or just need a preventative maintenance check.

Sunday 03/31/2019
BBB Tips: Giving wisely in times of need
Posted: March 31, 2019 - 8:30 am

On Friday, March 15th, 50 people went to prayer at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Center in Christchurch, New Zealand and never made it home. Cyclone Idai hit on March 4th has taken the lives of more than 1,000 people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. The United States Midwest is seeing record rainfall and flooding, causing people to evacuate their homes and anticipate the damage they will come back to.

Sunday 03/24/2019
BBB Tips: Lawn care services
Posted: March 24, 2019 - 8:30 am

The first day of Spring is just days away, and that means green grass and blooming bluebonnets are near! Spring is a busy time of year, so keeping up with your lawn and yard maintenance may quickly become a hassle. With over 200 industry complaints against landscaping services in Texas alone in 2018, choosing trustworthy lawn care can seem intimidating. Luckily, Better Business Bureau has tips on finding a landscaping service that is right for you.

Sunday 03/17/2019
BBB: Report reveals 2018’s riskiest scam
Posted: March 17, 2019 - 8:45 am

Each year, Better Business Bureau compiles data from Scam Tracker to create BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report. Using an algorithm that considers three important factors (exposure, susceptibility, and median loss), the Risk Report can accurately determine which scams pose real threats to consumers. The 2018 Risk Report was launched on March 6th and sheds some light on the changes seen in the last year.

BBB: April is here! It’s time for spring cleaning
Posted: March 17, 2019 - 8:45 am

It’s that time of year when spring cleaning is in full swing, but that can be a daunting task if you have a full and hectic schedule. Many people may turn to a cleaning service for extra help. This is an option that can offer some relief and provide extra space in your schedule. However, it is important to do your research first to make sure and choose a trustworthy cleaning service.

Sunday 03/10/2019
BBB: Knowing your rights this National Consumer Protection Week
Posted: March 10, 2019 - 8:45 am

Every year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recognizes National Consumer Protection Week. This year, it is held from March 3rd – 9th. The FTC states, “National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is a time to help people understand their consumer rights and make well-informed decisions about money.” As an official NCPW partner, Better Business Bureau wants to inform consumers of the resources we have to offer them.

Sunday 03/03/2019
BBB: Tips to help service members avoid scams during Military Saves Week
Posted: March 03, 2019 - 8:45 am

America Saves and Military Saves Weeks are annual events meant to promote good saving behavior for American families and service members. In honor of this event, Better Business Bureau wants to remind active military personnel, veterans, and their families about BBB Military Line®, a resource to help service members protect their money.

Sunday 02/24/2019
BBB: Tips for purchasing trustworthy tickets
Posted: February 24, 2019 - 8:45 am

Whether you want to take in a baseball game, concert, or festival, be careful of ticket scams when you purchase online.

Sunday 02/10/2019
BBB: Identity theft awareness a must during tax season
Posted: February 10, 2019 - 8:45 am

Tax season has officially begun, and scammers may be looking to steal your identity and your refund. The Federal Trade Commission declared last week “Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week.” This awareness week provides a great opportunity to learn more about what a tax scam looks like and how scammers can use your private information for profit.

Sunday 02/03/2019
BBB: Data Privacy Day: How you can stay safe online
Posted: February 03, 2019 - 5:30 am

This past Monday was Data Privacy Day, a day dedicated to educating people about protecting their privacy and personal data online. But in this day and age, is online crime still something to worry about? According to the 2017 Internet Crime Report, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received more than 300,000 complaints related to online crime … that’s an average of more than 800 complaints each day!

Sunday 01/27/2019
BBB: Tax preparation during a government shutdown: Where do you turn?
Posted: January 27, 2019 - 8:45 am

Jan. 28 is quickly approaching, and you may want to mark your calendars, because that’s the first day you can file for your 2018 tax returns. But, could the current partial government shutdown throw a wrench in your plans? It just might.

Sunday 01/20/2019
As partial government shutdown continues, your BBB is open
Posted: January 20, 2019 - 5:00 am

While the partial government shutdown is now in its fourth full week, you’ve noticed that many government websites are indicating they are not actively updating their information. Since Better Business Bureau (BBB) is not a government entity, bbb.org is in full operation! BBB is a nonprofit organization that helps people find and recommend businesses, brands and charities they can trust.

Sunday 01/13/2019
BBB: Take care to avoid online purchase scams
Posted: January 13, 2019 - 8:00 am

Online shopping continues to be a popular way to make a purchase these days. Unfortunately, it can also prove troublesome. Last year, BBB Scam Tracker reported more than 10,000 online shopping scams, more than double the reported number in 2017. In Texas last month there were more than 70 reported cases around the holiday shopping season with individuals losing anywhere from a few bucks to thousands of dollars. Some common online purchases that resulted in these scam reports included vehicles, clothing apparel, even puppies.

Sunday 12/30/2018
BBB: Finding the right gym for a healthier 2019
Posted: December 30, 2018 - 8:00 am

Look at any poll about the top New Year’s resolutions and you will surely see some common first and second place goals – eating healthier and getting more fit. Those resolutions often require one important step – finding the right gym. Better Business Bureau (BBB) has more than 15,000 health clubs in its database alone for consumers to search for the right one for their fitness needs. But, it’s important to do that much needed research first.

Sunday 12/23/2018
BBB: Beware of free trial offers this holiday season
Posted: December 23, 2018 - 8:00 am

As you start wrapping up your last-minute gift selections this week, many of us may still be looking online for some quick-ship items. But, be careful with some of the ads you see popping up. A new study by Better Business Bureau (BBB) sheds light on some of those tricky free trial offers you may be faced with on social media, in search engines or even through email that trap you using deceptive tactics.

Sunday 12/16/2018
BBB: Illegal secret sister gift exchange
Posted: December 16, 2018 - 8:00 am

The Better Business Bureau is reminding consumers to beware of the online “Secret Sister” gift exchange and similar invitations posted on social media. These are considered chain letters and should be ignored. The gift exchange, which first gained attention in 2015, has once again surfaced on social media sites in particular; Facebook.

Sunday 12/09/2018
BBB: Family emergency scams making the rounds this holiday season
Posted: December 09, 2018 - 8:00 am

Family emergency scams prey on someone’s willingness to help friends and family in need. Scammers impersonate their targets’ loved ones, make up an urgent situation, plead for help and money.

Sunday 12/02/2018
BBB: Giving wisely for the holidays
Posted: December 02, 2018 - 5:30 am

The holidays are not just about buying and receiving gifts from loved ones, but also about helping others. It’s a time to give back. But, before you give, it’s important to make sure your hard-earned dollars are going to the right place.

Sunday 11/18/2018
BBB: Holiday shopping tips and tricks
Posted: November 18, 2018 - 5:30 am

The holidays are just around the corner, and it’s expected to be a busy shopping season this year. American consumers will plan to spend an average of $1,007.24 during the holiday shopping season this year, according the National Retail Federation. That’s up 4.1 percent compared to the figure predicted for last year. Low unemployment numbers, higher take-home wages and high consumer confidence are said to be factors in helping boost those numbers.

Sunday 11/11/2018
BBB: What’s the risk of a medical data breach?
Posted: November 11, 2018 - 5:30 am

Despite strict privacy laws, like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), intended to safeguard your personal medical information, medical identity theft is on the rise and that could be a prescription for financial disaster.

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