Because of the current economic conditions, it is more important than ever to be a wise consumer. Here are your BBB’s resolutions for becoming a wiser consumer in 2013.
1) Look for the BBB seal and always check a business out with your BBB before you buy.
2) Sign up for the BBB Smart Tips for Consumers eNewsletter. Go to https://cbbb.wufoo.com/forms/email-sign-up/. There are 5 different eNewsletters you can sign up for: Smart Tips for Consumers, Scam Alerts, The Trusted Scout, Smart Investing, and Wise Giving.
3) Beware of job offers to make easy money. Beware of any job offer, work-at-home scheme or business opportunity that promises big money for little work and no experience.
4) Always read the fine print especially for free trial offers. Thousands of consumers complained to the BBB after signing up for a free trial offer online that resulted in repeated charges to their credit or debit cards sometimes amounting to as much as hundreds of dollars every month. Read the terms and conditions of any free trial offer before handing over credit or debit card numbers.
5) Keep your computer safe. Make sure you use strong passwords with capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and characters. Have a good antivirus and anti-malware program installed and conduct regular scans.
6) Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Many scams require that the victim wire money back to the scammers. The BBB has formed a partnership with Western Union to try to spot and stop scams before the consumer becomes a victim.
7) Fight identity theft. Always shred paper documents that include sensitive financial data and dispose of computers, cell phones, and digital data safely.
8) Ask BBB for help. File a complaint with your BBB if you have a disagreement with a business or have been ripped off by a scammer.
9) Create a budget and stick to it.
10) Fight fake check fraud. Thanks to advances in printing technology, scammers have the ability to create very real-looking phony checks. Educate yourself on 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.
11) Get everything in writing. Get every verbal agreement in writing to limit miscommunication and misunderstandings between your expectations and what the business delivers.
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