Thousands of consumers turn to Better Business Bureau (BBB) as the preeminent resource on businesses, and their goal is to go the extra mile in encouraging consumers to take full advantage of their rights. Your BBB is joining with federal, state and local government agencies to promote consumer education during the 16th annual National Consumer Protection Week, March 2-8, 2014.
As part of National Consumer Protection Week, BBB offers five easy ways to be a smarter consumer:
1. Always review a business with BBB first. Visit bbb.org/central-texas to check a company’s BBB Business Review. A BBB Business Review will tell you how many complaints a company has received and whether the company responded to the complaints. Search for a trustworthy local business using BBB Member Pages, which lists local BBB Accredited Businesses by industry.
2. Get everything in writing and always read the fine print. While it’s natural to want to skim through parts of the long-written terms and conditions in a contract, it is important that customers fully understand their rights and what they’re agreeing to.
3. Protect your identity. Fighting identity theft means staying vigilant online and offline. Always shred sensitive documents that include personal financial information such as bank, credit card and Social Security numbers. Monitor your financial statements and accounts closely. Be sure to update anti-virus software regularly and be extremely selective when opening attachments or clicking on links in e-mails.
4. Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Many scams deceive victims by convincing them to wire money. Scammers know it’s extremely difficult to track and it is nearly impossible to get your money back once it has been sent via wire.
5. Know where to complain. If you have been a victim of a scam or treated unfairly by a business, there are organizations and government agencies you can turn to for help. You can file a complaint with: