Protect Yourself from Fraud and Unfair Business Practices
Connecticut Better Business Bureau says the easiest resolutions for 2013 can help protect you and your family’s money and prevent identity theft.
- Do your research - Whether you want to hire a business or buy a product, take the time to do your research. Check out businesses and contractors at www.bbb.org to see their BBB Business Reviews. For product and safety recall information, go to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website at http://www.cpsc.gov.
- Keep your computer safe - Install anti-virus software on your computer and regularly check for software and operating system updates. Don’t open attachments or click on links in email unless they came from someone you know and trust.
- Get it in writing - Don’t just take a person’s word for it. Get all verbal promises in writing to limit miscommunication and misunderstandings.
- Never wire money to someone you don’t know - Many scams require money to be wired back to the criminals. It is almost impossible to track money sent via a money wiring service.
- Protect your identity - Always shred paper documents that include sensitive financial data and dispose of computers, cell phones and digital data safely. Secure all personal documents, such as your Social Security card, pull your credit report at least once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com and check your credit and debit card statements frequently.
- Shop on trustworthy websites - Before you provide any personal or banking information while shopping on the Internet, make sure you’re using a trusted site. When conducting online commerce, look for “https” in your browser’s address bar. The “s” stands for “secure,” and indicates the site is taking necessary steps to protect your personal data.
- Give wisely - Most philanthropists give year-round. To ensure your time, treasure and talent go to the cause you support, research all charities at www.give.org to check their legitimacy and to see how donations are administered and distributed.
- Don’t be pressured - If a company, organization, or salesperson uses overly-aggressive sales tactics to pressure you into making a purchase or on-the-spot decision, that’s a red flag. Walk away.
- Limit the amount of information you share on social media pages - Scammers use social media sites to gather information on potential victims. Avoid sharing too much personal information and check your privacy settings. Additionally, never announce through a social media site that you are going out of town, or won’t be home for a specified amount of time.
- Let your BBB help – Better Business Bureau is here to promote marketplace trust. If you have an issue with a business or feel you have been scammed, file a complaint with your BBB online at www.bbb.org or by calling 203-269-2700.
-Submitted by Howard Schwartz, Executive Communications Director Connecticut Better Business Bureau