Understanding Scams Helps Us Protect Loved Ones

Fairly often, I speak to community groups and members of the media about fraud and scams. To an extent, this is to keep people informed, so they will never be hoodwinked, themselves. Perhaps even more important, it is so they can help others be on the lookout.

What if someone does not have a great deal of experience? Or, what if someone just is not very cautious? The fact is that there are all sorts of people we know – people who may be very smart and thoughtful about any number of things – who are excellent targets for scams because of their circumstances.

One example is a young family member – let’s call him Bob – who wanted to sell a used video game console online. He posted his ad and received an offer for his asking price of $300 from a buyer within just a few hours. He was so excited! He packaged the game for shipping and was all ready when the check arrived – a money order for $1200, rather than the expected $300.

Of course, Bob immediately let the buyer know about the mistake, who was so appreciative for Bob’s honesty. Since it was a money order, Bob could not just tear it up, so the buyer asked Bob to wire the money to a bank account, and offered to let him keep an extra $100 for his trouble.

Well, this story actually goes on for a while, but the bottom line is that young Bob had found himself in the middle of a scam. A little investigating showed that the money order was a fake. If Bob had wired money to the provided bank account – which was overseas – he would have been out that money, and the money order would have been worthless. The only thing that prevented him becoming a victim was that he asked his mother for help with wiring the money, and a more seasoned head prevailed.

Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens all the time, in a thousand different ways. Scammers are looking for people who lack experience, or perhaps are a little naïve about this sort of thing, or do not pay attention to the details that might otherwise tip them off to what is really happening. They often target seniors, or students, or people in tough financial situations. This last group can be particularly attractive, because people looking for a lifeline can get themselves to believe all kinds of things and ignore all sorts of warning signals.

In a million years, you are I might not fall for a scam, but don’t we all have members of our family, or others we know, who might be more likely victims? It could be our children, our parents, our neighbors, or any number of other possibilities. They may be the ones who need to watch out, and the more we know, the more we can help them.


10 Reasons to Get Accredited

I was thinking the other day about the reasons for a business to get accredited by Better Business Bureau, and I thought it might be good to share my personal top 10 reasons. These are the reasons I offer when I asked, “Why should I apply for accreditation by Better Business Bureau?”

  1. Accreditation says you care about doing business with integrity.
  2. Working with Better Business Bureau strengthens your brand.
  3. Your listing in our directory is more effective when it shows you are accredited.
  4. Better Business Bureau offers great Search Engine Optimization programs to accredited organizations.
  5. Our educational programming can help you build a stronger business.
  6. Not everybody can get accredited; it says you are special.
  7. Supporting the accreditation program makes the world a better, more trusting place.
  8. Accreditation can differentiate you from the competition.
  9. Your accreditation supports BBB’s service to the community.
  10. The Better Business Bureau online referral service – Request A Quote – can help you attract new customers.

Getting accredited is good for you, good for consumers, and good for the community. It is all about integrity and building a business community based on the idea of trusting one another and doing the best we can for each other.

If you want to learn more, check out www.midmobbb.org. There, you will find details about everything we do to support businesses, consumers, and the community as a whole. You are also welcome to call the office at 573-886-8965 and we would love to speak with you.

10 Things You May Not Know About Better Business Bureau

It occurred to me that there are an awful lot of things most folks do not know about Better Business Bureau. National surveys tell us that over 70% of Americans recognize it; mostly, though, I think the average person says, “Oh yeah, Better Business Bureau is good; that’s who I call if I have a problem with a business.”

There is just so much more to know about Better Business Bureau, though, and I have made a list of the 10 things that I find most interesting.

  1. Our whole mission is to help build a more trusting marketplace.
  2. Better Business Bureau (BBB) is over 100 years old.
  3. BBB is a non-profit organization, created by the business community, to set it own standards of good behavior.
  4. BBB helps solve conflicts between consumers and business – taking complaints, reporting, and providing mediation and binding arbitration.
  5. BBB helps attract customers — referral service, SEO, and our directory.
  6. BBB offers most services for free, to anyone.
  7. BBB accredits non-profit organizations.
  8. BBB is an information resource for consumers.
  9. BBB is a leading source of information about active scams.
  10. BBB plays a key role in addressing bad business behavior.

Looking toward the coming weeks and months, I will do my best to address everything on the list. As regional director of Mid-Missouri Better Business Bureau, I am pretty proud of the role we play in our communities an I look forward to sharing what we are doing with you.