to be a smarter consumer in 2012
tips for being a better consumer in the new year
start of a new year is a great time to resolve to be a smarter, safer consumer.
Business Bureau has 10 resolutions for 2012 that can help you fight
scammers, prevent identity theft and save money:
1. Always check out
a business with BBB. Nearly 2,500 local businesses meet BBB standards and
are qualified to use the BBB Accredited Business seal. Check with your BBB to
find Business Reviews for more than 100,000 local
2. Get everything in
writing. Do not just take a company’s word for it. Get every verbal
agreement in writing to limit miscommunication and misunderstandings later.
3. Always read the
fine print. The details are always in the fine print. Take time to read
through all contracts, paperwork and documents in their entirety before signing
anything. This will ensure that you know what is expected and fully agree to
what you’re signing.
4. Be skeptical of
“job offers” that promise easy money. With a high national unemployment
rate, scammers are targeting people desperate to find a job. Beware of any job
offer, work-at-home scheme or business opportunity that promises big money for
little work and no experience.
5. Keep your
computer safe. If you have not already done so, install anti-virus software
on your computer and check regularly for software and operating system updates.
Do not open attachments or click on links coming from unknown senders.
6. Never wire money
to someone you do not know. Tracking money sent via MoneyGram or Western
Union is extremely difficult, and once the money has been wired, it is nearly
impossible to get it back.
7. Fight identity
theft. Shred 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 a bi-annual Shred Day event to help you
8. Ask your BBB for
help. File a complaint with your BBB if you have a
disagreement with a business or feel you have been victimized by a scammer.
9. Give wisely.
Philanthropists donate to charities all year long. Whether donating your time,
treasure or talent, ask questions and do your research to ensure your money is
going where you think it is going.
10. Fight fake check
fraud. Thanks to technology, scammers have the ability to create
professional-looking phony checks. Educate yourself on the common types of
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
check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.