Resolve to be Resolute With Caution, Common Sense

Step away from the chips. Stow the cookies. Crush the can of carbonated beverage. Yes, it’s THAT time when the whole year is laid out in front of you like a huge field of freshly fallen snow. No footprints. No trails. No excuses. A new beginning, a fresh start and chance to oh, I don’t know, maybe just maybe do something really crazy like be in control of your own identity, personal finances and overall well being. With a little help from BBB® it just might be possible.

Use our great Business Directory before buying a product or starting a home improvement project. Did you know, nearly 400,000 businesses meet BBB standards and are qualified to use an Accredited Business seal on their websites and at business locations? Visit bbb.org to find BBB Business Reviews for nearly 4 million businesses across North America.

Not everyone is truly trustworthy so 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.

It’s the little print that will cost you the most money. Thousands of consumers complained to BBB after signing up for a “free” trial offer online resulting in repeated charges to a credit or debit cards, sometimes adding up to hundreds of dollars every month. Always read the fine print on the terms and conditions of any “free” trial offer before handing over credit or debit card numbers.

Recent security breach attacks affecting top retailers are making everyone aware of how vulnerable their personal information really is. Install anti-virus software on your computer, tablet and any other device you use to connect to the internet. 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.

Cash may be king but never wire money to someone you don’t know. The complexity of wire scams is increasing and scammers know that tracking money sent via MoneyGram or Western Union is extremely difficult. Once the money is wired, it’s nearly impossible to get it back.

Your trash can and recycle bin can tell on you! Dumpster divers and other unscrupulous folks will find even a scrap of paper to pull enough data to set up a whole new identity. Fight identity theft by shredding 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.

As an added bonus, your local BBB has a program available where we’ll come out to your community and talk about how to keep your investment safe from scammers. Read more and schedule a time.

We’re here for you.  File a complaint with BBB if you have a disagreement with a business or have been ripped off by a scammer.  BBB wishes everyone a happy, safe, healthy and prosperous New Year. Start with a business you can Trust. bbb.org

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About Sandra Guile

Sandra is the PR Specialist for BBB Cincinnati, promoting BBB's message of marketplace ethics through public speaking engagements, presentations, blogging, media relations, press releases, web content and other written materials. Her goal is to connect with consumers and business owners in a trustworthy environment and encouraging best practices.