BBB offers consumer advice during National Consumer Protection Week, March 5-11, 2017
The marketplace is constantly shifting when it comes to online shopping, managing credit and protecting your identity.
National Consumer Protection Week is a coordinated campaign that aims to “help people understand their consumer rights and make well-informed decisions about money.” BBB is one of many partnering organizations that offers consumers tips on various topics such as identity theft, credit management, shopping and scams.
In recognition of NCPW, Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin offers the following advice:
- Always check out a business with BBB first. Go to bbb.org to see a company’s BBB Business Profile.
- Get everything in writing and always read the fine print. Contracts are meant to protect a business and consumers by outlining the terms of the agreement. While it’s natural to want to skim through parts of the long-written terms and conditions, it is important that customers fully understand their rights and what they’re agreeing to. Whenever signing a contract, BBB recommends reading the fine print carefully—even if it means taking it home and sleeping on it.
- Protect your identity—and your wallet. Fighting identity theft means staying vigilant online and offline. Always shred sensitive documents that include personal financial information such as your bank account number, credit card and Social Security number. Monitor your financial accounts closely to quickly detect suspicious activity. Shop on secure websites, and always confirm that the business is trustworthy before entering your credit card number.
- Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Scammers know it’s extremely difficult to track money sent via MoneyGram or Western Union, so never wire money to someone you don’t know. More troubling for victims is the fact that it’s nearly impossible to get your money back once it’s been sent via wire. Even if you’ve been given a check to cover the amount you’re wiring, never send money to someone you don’t know personally. The check could be fraudulent, leaving you liable for the money.
- Avoid scams. BBB offers Scam Tracker, an interactive online tool where people can find and report scams near them. Watch out for red flags of a scam, such as requests to send money via wire transfer or prepaid debit card, or requests for personal and financial information, such as your Social Security number or bank account number. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.