BBB’s Top 10 consumer tips for 2015

ID-100179211Better Business Bureau is proud of our mission; to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. In order to fulfill that mission, every year BBB offers thousands of tips for consumers to help them find a business they can trust.

With more than 30 million businesses operating in the U.S. and Canada, people are overwhelmed with choices, and often unsure about where to find reliable, unbiased information.

BBB helps people find and recommend business, brands and charities they can trust. Your BBB compiled the top ten consumer tips to help you fight scammers, prevent identity theft and save money in 2015:

BBB’s top 10 consumer tips

  1. Do your research
  2. Protect your identity
  3. Create a budget
  4. Shop on trustworthy websites
  5. Keep your computer safe
  6. Give wisely
  7. Get everything in writing
  8. Limit information shared on social media pages
  9. Never wire money to someone you don’t know
  10. Let your BBB help

Consumer Tips:

  1. Do your research. Always check a business out with BBB before you buy.  Nearly 400,000 businesses nationwide meet BBB’s Standards for Trust and are qualified to use the BBB Accredited Business seal on their websites and at business locations. Use checkbbb.org to find a list of Accredited Businesses under several category lists. For any business, visit bbb.org to find BBB Business Reviews for nearly four million businesses across North America to see complaint details, customer reviews and advertising-related issues.
  2. Protect your identity. Always 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 annual Shred Day events nationwide to help you stay safe. Safely store all personal documents, such as your Social Security card. Pull your credit report at least once a year and check your credit and debit card statements frequently.
  3. Create a budget. Setting a budget can help you stay afloat in 2015. BBB has advice on how to create a budget to help you get out of debt and stay out of debt at bbb.org.
  4. Shop on trustworthy websites. Online shopping is increasingly become more popular, so before you provide any personal or banking information over the web, make sure you’re using a trusted site. Look for the “s” in https:// when putting in any personal information.
  5. Keep your computer safe. If you haven’t already done so, install anti-virus software on your computer and check regularly for software and operating system updates and patches. Don’t open attachments or click on links in emails unless you can confirm the email came from someone you trust. Always log out of internet sites you are not using.
  6. Give wisely. Most philanthropists give year-round. To ensure your time, treasure and talents are going to the cause you’re looking to support, research all charities at give.org to check their BBB charity review and to see how their monetary donations are distributed.
  7. Get everything in writing. Don’t just take a company’s word for it. Get every verbal agreement in writing to limit miscommunication and misunderstandings between what you expect and what the business delivers.
  8. Limit information shared 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.
  9. Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Many scams require money to be wired back to the scammers. Tracking money sent via a money wiring service is almost impossible.
  10. Let your BBB help. BBB 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.

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