• August 18, 2019

Odessa American: BBB Column

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BBB: Giving after tragedy

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.

More From Top Story

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.

Sunday 11/04/2018
BBB: Political scams expected to increase as U.S. midterm election nears
Posted: November 04, 2018 - 2:30 am

Election Day is only a few days away and it’s common around this time of year to receive phone calls from political pollsters asking questions about how you plan to vote, and scammers mimic those legitimate calls.

Sunday 10/28/2018
BBB: Beware of ‘storm chasers’ following natural disasters
Posted: October 28, 2018 - 2:30 am

Disaster can strike at any time, as proven by the recent historic flooding in Central Texas. Following any kind of natural disaster, Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas recommends homeowners be on the look-out for possible “storm chasers” as the recovery phase begins.

Sunday 10/21/2018
BBB: Big event coming up? Watch out for ticket scams
Posted: October 21, 2018 - 2:30 am

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

Sunday 10/14/2018
BBB: Scam Alert: Con artists impersonate your favorite celebrity
Posted: October 14, 2018 - 3:45 am

Fans of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are the newest target of a scam on Facebook that cons people out of money and personal information. The Rock himself has posted a video on social media warning fans to be vigilant and not engage with the people behind this scam.

Sunday 10/07/2018
BBB: Breast Cancer Awareness Month: BBB advises consumers to be aware of pinkwashing
Posted: October 07, 2018 - 5:30 am

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness about this disease. For businesses and consumers, it’s an opportunity to make a donation or support a cause for those affected by breast cancer. To make sure donations go to the right place, Better Business Bureau advises consumers to research pink product claims before making a purchase or getting caught up in the hype.

Sunday 09/30/2018
BBB: Deadline extended for 2018 Torch Awards applications
Posted: September 30, 2018 - 5:30 am

The Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas has extended the deadline to apply for the 2018 Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics. Businesses wanting to apply now have until Friday, Oct. 5, to send in their applications.

Sunday 09/23/2018
BBB: New law makes credit freezes and thaws easier, free
Posted: September 23, 2018 - 5:30 am

Every few months it seems we hear about another major hack of consumer information. In the wake of these massive data breaches like Equifax in 2017, which exposed the personal information of millions of Americans, a new federal law will soon allow you to get credit protection, without paying a fee.

Sunday 09/16/2018
BBB study shows how fake check scams bait consumers
Posted: September 16, 2018 - 4:00 am

While consumers may write fewer checks in this era of digital wallets and debit cards, fake check scams are on the rise. That’s according to a new, in-depth study by Better Business Bureau.

Sunday 09/09/2018
BBB: Scam alert: Users falling for phony offers on Instagram
Posted: September 09, 2018 - 4:00 am

If you are active on Instagram, watch out for this newly popular con. Phony companies are reaching out to users and offering them perks in exchange for posting product pictures. In the end, though, these “brand ambassadors” just end up losing money.

Sunday 09/02/2018
BBB Tip: Keeping college students protected from clever scammers
Posted: September 02, 2018 - 4:00 am

College students can be easy targets for scammers and identity thieves. They are old enough to have money, young enough to be vulnerable and are likely unsupervised as many are away from home for the first time.

Sunday 08/26/2018
BBB: Last-minute Labor Day travel tips to avoid scams
Posted: August 26, 2018 - 4:00 am

With Labor Day weekend approaching, consumers will be taking advantage of last-minute deals for one final getaway. Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas is advising consumers to be aware of potential scams.

Sunday 08/19/2018
BBB: Homeowners — Be wary of homestead exemption offers
Posted: August 19, 2018 - 4:00 am

Mailboxes of new homeowners are often flooded with letters from companies looking to cash in on things you might need, like lawn care services or cable. Included in all the mail solicitations could be a letter offering to register you for a homestead exemption — for a fee. Recently a warning about this solicitation was issued by the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Sunday 08/12/2018
BBB: Federal racketeering charges filed against Arlington-based moving company that was subject of BBB investigation
Posted: August 12, 2018 - 4:00 am

A federal grand jury has indicted 12 people on criminal conspiracy and racketeering charges in relation to a nationwide moving company scam. One of the companies — President Moving Services based out of Arlington, Texas — was the subject of a 2018 Better Business Bureau investigation. The Department of Justice says the individuals used several affiliated moving companies located throughout the United States.

Sunday 08/05/2018
BBB: Back to school shopping shouldn't break the bank
Posted: August 05, 2018 - 4:00 am

It may seem like summer vacation just began, but it’s already time to start thinking about the new school year! As parents look to check off supplies on their child’s back-to-school list, the upcoming Tax Free Weekend and shopping online both offer great opportunities to stock up and save on some of your shopping needs.

Sunday 07/22/2018
BBB: Imposters using Facebook for grant scams
Posted: July 22, 2018 - 4:00 am

Scammers continue to con Facebook users out of thousands of dollars with phony government grant offers. You may be among the many Facebook users who have been approached by “friends” claiming you are eligible to receive a “free” U.S. government grant. In the end, there is no free government grant, but instead, an elaborate scheme to steal your personal information and money.

Sunday 07/15/2018
BBB: Do you have student loan debt? Don't fall for this scam
Posted: July 15, 2018 - 4:00 am

“Congratulations! You can get your student loans forgiven — it’s quick and easy!” If you think this sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Student loan debt affects more than 42 million Americans, with outstanding balances of more than $1.4 trillion. The Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau are warning consumers of deceptive scammers.

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

Clear
84°
Humidity: 43%
Winds: S at 13mph
Feels Like: 85°

Your Extended Forecast

Tomorrow

weather
High 104°/Low 78°
Mostly clear. Lows overnight in the upper 70s.

sunday

weather
High 104°/Low 77°
More sun than clouds. Highs 102 to 106F and lows in the upper 70s.

monday

weather
High 101°/Low 75°
A few clouds. Highs 99 to 103F and lows in the mid 70s.
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