To Our Cherished Accredited Business Partners:
Another new year has arrived and it will not be long until East Tennessee is in full bloom again. Even though we are not there yet, springtime brings about new beginnings. After 30 years of outstanding service with the BBB of Greater East Tennessee, our current President and CEO, Jerry Tipton, retires at the end of February. If you know Jerry personally, please reach out to him to say, “Thanks.”
It is with sincere humility that I step into the role of President on March 1, 2017. I will do everything in my power to continue to “carry the torch” ensuring that the BBB remains the most utilized and unbiased organization helping consumers find ethical and transparent businesses they can trust.
This year we will implement new and innovative opportunities for our Accredited Businesses to take advantage of using the power of the BBB to help you grow your brand and your business. Details coming soon!
We are YOUR Better Business Bureau and we welcome your input on how we can improve as an organization. I personally look forward to serving you and working with you!
Wishing you a blessed day,
Phishing Schemes Lead the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for 2017; Remain Tax-Time Threat
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to watch out for fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. These “phishing” schemes continue to be on the annual IRS list of “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for the 2017 filing season.
The IRS saw a big spike in phishing and malware incidents during the 2016 tax season. New and evolving phishing schemes have already been seen this month as scam artists work to confuse taxpayers during filing season. The IRS has already seen email schemes in recent weeks targeting tax professionals, payroll professionals, human resources personnel, schools as well as average taxpayers.
In these email schemes, criminals pose as a person or organization the taxpayer trusts or recognizes. They may hack an email account and send mass emails under another person’s name. They may pose as a bank, credit card company, tax software provider or government agency. Criminals go to great lengths to create websites that appear legitimate but contain phony log-in pages. These criminals hope victims will take the bait and provide money, passwords, Social Security numbers and other information that can lead to identity theft.
Scam emails and websites also can infect a taxpayer’s computer with malware without the user knowing it. The malware can give the criminal access to the device, enabling them to access all sensitive files or track keyboard strokes, exposing login information.
Compiled annually, the “Dirty Dozen” lists a variety of common scams that taxpayers may encounter anytime but many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their returns or find people to help with their taxes.
For those perpetrating these schemes, the scams can lead to significant penalties and interest and possible criminal prosecution. IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to shutdown scams and prosecutes the criminals behind them.
Criminals increasingly are targeting tax professionals, deploying various types of phishing emails in an attempt to access client data. The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry also launched a public awareness campaign called Protect Your Client; Protect Yourself to warn tax professionals, offer tips and compile alerts.
If a taxpayer receives an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), report it by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org Tax professionals who receive unsolicited and suspicious emails that appear to be from the IRS or related to the e-Services program also should report it by sending it to email@example.com.
It is important to keep in mind the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.
|New Accredited businesses December 2016 and January 2017|
|Ask This Old Carpenter||2825 Morganton Rd.||Maryville||Blount||TN||37801|
|Landsculptures, Inc.||1111 W. Broadway Ave||Maryville||Blount||TN||37801|
|Elizabethton Collision Center LLC||4036 Hwy 19E||Elizabethton||Carter||TN||37643|
|Mr. Rooter Plumbing||250 State Street||Greeneville||Greene||TN||37743|
|Johnson - Arrowood Funeral Home||320 Grandview St.||Church Hill||Hawkins||TN||37642|
|Christine's Interiors||6230 Oaktree Ln||Knoxville||Knox||TN||37938|
|Custom Concrete & Design LLC||7524 Kilbridge Drive||Knoxville||Knox||TN||37924|
|Law Offices of LaFevor & Slaughter||900 S. Gay St. Suite 1704||Knoxville||Knox||TN||37902|
|Marygrove Products of E. Tennessee||333 Troy Circle, Suite O||Knoxville||Knox||TN||37919|
|Mobile Grooming Trailers for Sale||8308 Beaver Ridge Rd.||Knoxville||Knox||TN||37931|
|Outdoor Living Pros||2120 Amherst Road||Knoxville||Knox||TN||37921|
|Test Company||400 Main Street||Knoxville||Knox||TN||37902|
|Volunteer Motors and Trailer Sales||1405 E. Emory Road||Knoxville||Knox||TN||37938|
|Pioneer Construction Group||1000 Waterford Place||Kingston||Roane||TN||37763|
|Elite Vacation Group LLC||2439 Newport Hwy STE 201||Sevierville||Sevier||TN||37876|
|Pro Travel Network||2439 Newport Hwy||Sevierville||Sevier||TN||37876|
|Happy Pets Sitting Service||450 Pleasant Grove Rd.||Bluff City||Sullivan||TN||37618|
|Kenny Z's Locksmith||607 Wessex Drive||Kingsport||Sullivan||TN||37663|
BBB TIPS ON CONTRACTORS
The Gatlinburg – Pigeon Forge area, has experienced significant business & property damage as a result of the recent wildfires. Many homeowners are still grappling with extensive repairs as they rebuild. Unfortunately, unscrupulous storm chasers tend to take advantage during these times, and if your home is damaged, you will want to make sure repairs are made swiftly and that you avoid any scams. Whether your home has experienced fire damage or other structural issues, you do not want the added stress of dealing with a shoddy or fraudulent contractor during the repair process.
The Better Business Bureau of Greater East Tennessee offers the following tips for victims seeking repairs:
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Inform your policy holder of the damage and determine what they will and will not cover and any requirements for your claim. Be sure to document the damage to your property or your car and take photos if possible. If you are staying at a temporary location, keep any receipts for lodging or food as some of these costs may be covered by your insurance, depending on what your policy allows.
Check out any business with the BBB. If a business approaches you offering to repair your home, ask for their contact information and allow yourself time to fully research the business, check for references, and review their BBB report at www.knoxville.bbb.org to determine if there are any issues of concern or call (865)692-1600.
Verify licensing, if applicable. If a business claims to be licensed, ask for these credentials, so you may check with the state at www.tn.gov/commerce, click on Resources & Services to verify a license.
Avoid high-pressure sales pitches. Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, avoid letting your emotions get the better of you. Be proactive in selecting a company and not reactive to sales solicitations. Make temporary repairs if necessary. For major repairs, take time to shop around and get three or four estimates based on the same specifications and materials.
Require a written contract agreement with anyone you hire. It should specify the work to be done, the materials to be used and the price breakdown. Any promises made orally should be written into the contract, including warranties on materials or labor. Be sure their name, address, and phone number along with a start and end date for the work is included in contract. Read and understand the contract in its entirety; don't sign a blank contract and a copy of the signed contract to be given to you at time of signature.
Verify if the business is insured. Once you have found a contractor, request proof of a current insurance certificate covering workman's compensation, property damage and personal liability.
Never pay in full for all repairs in advance, and do not pay cash. While many companies may ask for a deposit, BBB suggests that no more one-third of the job be paid up front.