99 episodes

The Better Business Bureau, serving the Tri-Counties, shares tips and resources on how you can help them in their ongoing mission to Advance Marketplace Trust between business and consumers. Tune in each week for valuable information that you can use each day.

Your Moment of Trust Better Business Bureau of the Tri-Counties

    • Business

The Better Business Bureau, serving the Tri-Counties, shares tips and resources on how you can help them in their ongoing mission to Advance Marketplace Trust between business and consumers. Tune in each week for valuable information that you can use each day.

    Wrong Number Text Scams

    Wrong Number Text Scams

    A Podcast by BBB of the Tri-Counties: https://www.bbb.org/local-bbb/bbb-of-the-tri-counties  A BIG thank you to Ayers Automotive Repairs in Santa Barbara for Supporting this Podcast!
    Welcome to this week’s edition of Your Moment of Trust! A new text message scam
    seems so innocent that it’s tempting to reply. But con artists are using phony “wrong
    number” texts to lure victims into conversation and falling for a scam.
    How the scam works

    You receive a text that reads something like this: “Hey is this John? It’s Amanda. We
    chatted on Tinder before when I came to visit my cousin but we never met irl. I’m
    back in town if you want to meet up this time, are you free?”
    If you reply to a text like this, even with a polite, “Sorry, wrong number,” the stranger
    responds anyway, seemingly ignoring your answer. Usually, you’ll receive a few
    compliments and some photos of “Amanda,” who appears to be a scantily clad blonde
    woman. However, as the word gets out about this scam, scammers will change up the
    names, backstory, and photos.
    If you continue to engage with the stranger, who is really a chat bot, it tries to trick you into registering for dating or adult websites. Your new “friend” will encourage you to sign up for a specific website to see more explicit photos, which may involve offering up your credit card number. Considering the dubious nature of this scam, if you hand over your credit card information at any point, you could be putting yourself at risk for fraudulent charges and identity theft.
    Even BBB staff has received these texts. “I did a double-take,” says Pam Anson,
    Director of Brand Outreach for BBB Serving Greater Cleveland. “It’s a different
    approach than most scammers take and I didn’t think anything too seriously until more of my friends started to say that they also received it... It’s obvious that the scammers are trying to elicit a response, such as sympathy, to this woman for receiving a fake number from a friend, but we need to remind consumers that appearances can be deceiving.”
    How to avoid chat bot scams
    ● Ignore texts from strangers. Strangers on the internet can pretend to be
    anyone. Question motives behind both solicited and unsolicited messages. If you
    receive a text from someone you don’t know, simply don’t reply. It’s the safest
    route. If you engage with a scammer, even briefly, they will mark your number as
    active and you could receive even more shady texts in the future.
    ● Block numbers that appear to come from scammers. Unsolicited texts that
    look like they come from a chat bot or that ask you to click on suspicious links are
    probably not safe. Block these numbers to prevent scammers from contacting
    you through them again.
    Never give your personal information to strangers. Never share your credit
    card or banking information, your full name, home address, or social security
    number with someone you never met in person. Remember that any photo you
    upload on social media can be stolen and used by a scammer.
    For more information
    If you have compromised your personal information, you can report the incident to law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission.
    For additional romance scam resources visit BBB.org/romance. Read the BBB Tip: Spot
    the red flags of fake text messages. Read more about similar scams, such about text
    messages with surprise offers.
    If you’ve been the victim of a text message scam, report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker.
    Your report can help expose scammers’ tactics so others won’t fall prey.
    Until next time!

    • 5 min
    • video
    How Much to Tip...

    How Much to Tip...

    A Podcast by BBB of the Tri-Counties: http  s://www.bbb.org/local-bbb/bbb-of-the-tri-counties     A BIG thank you to Ayers Automotive Repairs in Santa Barbara  
    Welcome to this week’s edition of Your Moment of Trust! The end of the year is a time to
    show appreciation for those who provide necessary services and little luxuries in your
    daily life. But this year, the increased cost of goods and services means you may need
    to pay extra attention to your tipping budget. Even if you are limited in what you can
    give, there’s no need to feel uncomfortable. A little extra thoughtfulness can go a long

    Determining who to tip and how much to give can be confusing. To avoid extra holiday
    stress, BBB recommends the following tips to help you tip confidently while staying
    within your budget.

    Tips for holiday tipping

    ● Consider your budget. Begin planning your tips by looking over your holiday
    budget, or creating one, if you haven’t already. Tips aren’t obligatory, so if you
    don’t have the extra cash, consider other ways to show your gratitude. According
    to the Emily Post Institute, homemade gifts or a simple thank you note are
    perfectly acceptable ways to say “thank you” when funds are short.
    ● Start planning tips early. You don’t want to be scrambling through your purse to
    find some extra cash when you see your regular delivery driver pull up. Once you
    set your tipping budget, make a list of who you plan to tip and how much. Do this
    as early as possible, keeping in mind that tipping before the holidays are officially
    here means the recipient will have extra cash for holiday spending.
    ● Tip with cash when possible. Cash is usually the best way to give a tip. It
    means the recipient has access to the funds right away and won’t have to pay
    any fees to use the money. That said, if you regularly pay someone via an app
    and want to tip that way, you can. Just make sure you include a brief note letting
    them know the extra money is a tip for their excellent service.
    ● Make the tip attractive. For a classic tip, The Wall Street Journal says crisp bills
    in an envelope that reads “Thank You” on the outside is ideal. You can even write
    a brief thank you note to express your gratitude when appropriate.
    ● Tip according to the depth of your relationship. Match your tip amount to the
    quality and quantity of work the person does for you. If you hire a babysitter
    occasionally, an appropriate tip might be the equivalent of one evening’s pay. On
    the other hand, if you have a live-in housekeeper, an entire week’s pay would be
    Know Who NOT to Tip:
    Some professionals can’t accept tips because of ethical
    reasons, including doctors, lawyers, and government officials. Some companies
    don’t allow their employees to accept tips. Don’t be afraid to ask up front if a
    professional or company employee can accept tips if you aren’t sure. When
    appropriate, a gift is a good alternative.
    Tipping by Profession

    ● Personal service providers. For hairdressers, massage therapists, or any other
    personal-service provider you regularly tip, consider upping your tip amount
    during the holiday season. If you usually tip 20%, make it 40%. Depending on
    your budget, you may decide to tip them the cost of an entire visit. The same
    goes for other service providers, like your dog walker or groomer. The equivalent
    of one service makes for a generous end-of-the-year tip.
    ● Nannies, babysitters and caregivers. A similar rule applies to tipping childcare,
    home health aides, and similar professions. Tipping the cost of a session, such
    as an evening’s pay for a regular sitter, is considered standard. For a live-in
    nanny, consider a bonus of up to a week’s wages. For those hired through a
    service, make sure you check that they are allowed to accept tips before giving.
    ● Building staff. If you live in an apartment building, consider tipping cleaners,

    • 6 min
    Choosing the Perfect Gifts for your Pets

    Choosing the Perfect Gifts for your Pets

    A Podcast by BBB of the Tri-Counties:  https://www.bbb.org/local-bbb/bbb-of-the-tri-counties
    A BIG thank you to Ayers Automotive Repair for supporting this podcast! https://www.ayersrepairs.com
    Welcome to this week’s edition of Your Moment of Trust! Even with inflation
    worries this holiday season, most pet owners still plan on spoiling their fur
    babies with holiday gifts.

    According to a poll by Chewy in 2022 (Chewy is a BBB Accredited Business), more than
    90% of pet owners include their pets on their holiday shopping list, and another study
    shows that giving to pets makes people happy.

    However, with thousands of pet gifts to choose from, ranging from toys and treats to
    doggie spa days and advent calendars, how can you choose a good gift for your pet?
    BBB recommends the following tips to help you find the perfect gift: one that is safe,
    within your budget, and one your pet will adore.
    Choosing the perfect pet gift

    ● Stay within budget. If you are making multiple gift purchases this holiday
    season, it’s especially important to plan your holiday budget and then stick to it.
    Be sure to include your pets in the budget and then shop for gifts that are within
    your means.
    ● Pick a gift that matches your pet’s personality. Just like people, every pet is
    different. Some are more active than others, some are food-motivated, some love
    to chew, and some love to run. Take your pet’s personality into consideration to
    choose a gift they will really enjoy. The Humane Society has ideas for toys based
    on your pets’ personalities and needs.
    ● Choose a gift that is safe. Most importantly, choose a gift that is safe. Avoid
    toys that are small enough to be ingested. Make sure toys don’t have any
    ribbons, string, rubber bands, etc., that a pet could swallow. You should also be
    able to clean toys, whether that means machine washing them or wiping them
    down occasionally.
    ● Know what’s inside your toys. For many dogs – and some cats – destroying a
    toy is much of the fun. Keep this in mind when shopping. Read labels and make
    sure what’s inside the toy is also safe. For example, many toy stuffings aren’t
    digestible and could pose a danger.
    ● Check the ingredients in edible gifts. Stick to treats and foods that are made
    specifically for dogs or cats. The FDA warns that many human treats contain
    ingredients that are hazardous to pets, such as xylitol. If you’re looking for treats
    that contribute to dental health, check the Veterinary Oral Health Council website for a list of acceptable chew treats for both dogs and cats. In addition to quality,
    keep an eye on quantity. If your dog or cat has a stocking full of pet treats, don’t
    let them gobble them up too fast, as this could lead to choking or digestive
    ● Weigh the pros and cons of subscription services. Subscription services can
    be a fun way to give your pet gifts all year round, but you’ll want to do plenty of
    research before signing up. Get to know the company, investigate free trials, and
    make sure you know how to stop a subscription before you choose a service.
    ● Check out pet advent calendars. Pet advent calendars have become incredibly
    popular in recent years. These can make good gifts too, but they aren’t always a
    bargain. You’ll need to compare calendars to get the best deal. In addition, keep
    an eye out for advent calendar scams, which have become especially common
    through social media ads.
    ● Purchase gifts from reputable vendors, especially if you are making a
    purchase online. Read consumer reviews before doing business with a company,
    and keep an eye out for fake websites while you shop. If you ever need to return
    an item that was purchased online, see our tips for hassle-free returns.

    Until next time!

    • 5 min
    Sticking to your Holiday Budget

    Sticking to your Holiday Budget

    A Podcast by BBB of the Tri-Counties  https://www.bbb.org/local-bbb/bbb-of-the-tri-counties  
    A BIG thank you to Ayers Automotive Repair for supporting this podcast. https://www.ayersrepairs.com
    Welcome to this week’s edition of Your Moment of Trust! Supply chain problems, shipping delays, and inflation can make it even tougher to create and stick to a budget during the holidays. This meansthat planning ahead and knowing your sp ending limits are more important than ever. How can you build a holiday budget that will cover buying for everyone on your list while keeping you out of debt? BBB recommends the following steps for calculating your seasonal budget and sticking to it.
    How to make and stick to a holiday budget
    ● Calculate your debt. Before planning gifts and parties, take a look at how much
    you owe. Pay close attention to any debt that incurs interest. If you have more
    debt than you can pay off before the holidays, then you'll want to keep spending
    to a bare minimum. Remember, there are plenty of inexpensive and even free
    ways to show friends and family how much you love them during the holiday
    ● Project your income and expenses. Next, calculate how much money you will
    earn this holiday season. Review your income from the past three months to
    calculate an average monthly income. Now, you know how much money you
    have. Before you start setting aside money for holiday fun, make a list of any
    regular expenses you need to address. These might include utility bills,
    groceries, gas, and rent or mortgage payments. Don't forget about any annual
    fees that might come up around the new year, like HOA fees or your car
    registration. Subtract these necessities from your monthly income. Add any
    savings you've set aside for the holidays, and decide how much you can spend.
    ● Set up a separate holiday budget. Next, make a list of holiday expenses you
    plan to incur. Include all holiday-related expenses but divide them into categories:
    travel costs, holiday parties, decorations, cards, gifts, clothes, professional
    photos, gift wrap, etc. Add up the cost of each item and subtract it from your
    holiday budget amount. If you have leftover funds, great! If you are over budget,
    consider what items you want to prioritize and what items you can modify or cut
    from your list. For example, your budget might not allow you to host a 50-guest
    holiday bash for the whole block, but you may be able to afford an intimate family
    holiday dinner instead.
    ● Create a gift list. A detailed shopping list can be a huge help when working with
    a specific holiday budget. Write down each individual you plan to buy a gift for preparation will help you do your research and find better deals when purchasing
    their gift.
    ● Keep track of your spending. This is one of the most essential tips on this list.
    By tracking your spending, you'll always know how much you have left to spend,
    when it is okay to splurge on an item, and when you're approaching your budget
    limit. Tracking your spending will keep you from making unwise purchases on a
    whim and help you avoid taking on unnecessary debt.
    ● Plan for inflation. Inflation can affect both your gift-giving plans and your daily
    expenses. Be sure to factor rising prices into your regular budget for items like
    groceries and gas. When working on your holiday budget, it's important to know
    that some gifts will cost more than last year, and they may never go on sale
    thanks to supply chain delays. Always do a price comparison before you buy a
    product, and don't be afraid to scale back on gift-giving this year if you need to.
    ● Take advantage of sales, rewards, and cash-back offers. Take advantage of
    Black Friday deals, Small Business Saturday sales and Cyber Monday offers. If
    you are part of a rewards or loyalty program that offers special discounts or
    cash-back rewards, save money by using these promos to purchase gifts and
    ● Bundle your shipping.

    • 5 min
    Sports Memorabilia Scams (Warnings from BBB)

    Sports Memorabilia Scams (Warnings from BBB)

    Welcome to this week’s edition of Your Moment of Trust! When shopping for a team jersey or other sports memorabilia, Watch out for fakes. Scammers know that authentic game-used and/or autographed items can fetch big bucks – especially for items commemorating big games.
    When shopping online, it can be hard to trust that a seller or product is genuine. Follow these tips when buying sports memorabilia:
    “Game-used” items are highly sought after. Buyers prize items that saw action on
    the court or field as valuable parts of sports history. Consumers should be aware that there is a significant difference between “game-used” and “game-issued.” For example, a game-issued jersey was designed for the player to wear, but it may not actually have been worn. There’s nothing wrong with selling that game-issued item—unless the seller scuffs it up and tries to pass it off as game-used for a higher price.
    Autographs are even trickier. With the use of autopen, manufacturers can reproduce ink signatures hundreds of times. Again, there’s nothing wrong with selling autopen-signed items as long as they’re not misrepresented as personally signed by the player and priced accordingly. Buyers also need to watch out for online listings that describe items as “hand-signed” without specifying whose hand-signed it. That could be technically correct but still highly misleading.
    Outright forgeries can be the hardest to spot, and this issue has plagued collectors for decades. If you don’t have time to become an autograph authentication expert but still want to make purchases, here are some steps you can take.
    How the scam works - an example
    Victims of this scam typically find fake sports merchandise through a social media ad or a quick web search. These online scam stores have great photos and cheap prices, making them look believable.
    Victims report that, at first, the purchase seems normal. The site charges their credit card and sends a confirmation email. However, weeks pass, and the jersey never arrives. The anticipation of having a keepsake of a favorite team is suddenly dashed when the victim tries to contact customer service. They quickly find that neither the company nor the product exists.
    One disappointed fan reported the following to BBB Scam Tracker: “This company
    advertised selling collector's items of sports merchandise in special boxes. Each box was supposed to have a certain number of team-related items like a jersey, signed football or mini helmet, etc. I paid 69.99 for the top box of Chicago Bears items. What I actually got was a cheap no-brand jersey, an NFL keychain, and a face mask. I went to good to be true. If the price of an item, collectible or not, is significantly less than what it is on other well-known retailers’ sites, this is a red flag that it might be a scam.
    ● Research the company before you purchase. If the company is unfamiliar,check BBB.org to see if they have a BBB Business Profile or BBB Scam Tracker to see if anyone else has reported them as a scam. Look for contact information on the website, such as a phone number or brick-and-mortar address, as well as a robust social media presence to help determine if the company indeed doesexist.
    ● Never wire money or use a prepaid debit card as payment. Scammers often request both payment types, and once the money is gone, there is no way to get the money back. Instead, make online purchases with a credit card and only onsecure (https) websites.
    ● Double-check COAs: Certificates of authenticity (COAs) are the norm for memorabilia purchases, especially for costly items —so it’s likely that scammers will try to provide fake ones. A valid COA should state the qualifications and complete contact information of the issuer. Before you trust a COA, ensure itcontains full and correct details on who issued it, and then make sure they’re alegitimate and reputable authority. If investing in a less

    • 7 min
    BBB's Holiday Tips on Scoring Hard to Find Items

    BBB's Holiday Tips on Scoring Hard to Find Items

    Welcome to this week’s edition of Your Moment of Trust! National experts are predicting an increase in spending this holiday season. There is also a concern if many of the items on consumers' holiday lists will be available on the shelf or online and are faced with the disappointing words: “Sorry, this item is currently out of stock.” That’s especially true when there are challenges with supply chains.
    But does that mean the words “out of stock” are the end of the line? Not at all. With a little determination and some creative thinking, the item might be found and purchased. Here are BBB’s tips for finding items that are sold out in stores.
    How to buy out-of-stock items
    ● Try a different store. Avoid limiting the search to the most popular brick-and-mortar stores. Consider researching multiple vendors’ websites to see who is carrying stock. If the large chain stores are out of what you need, try a reputable independent shop or a different type of store entirely. For example, when toilet paper was in short supply at grocery stores, some consumers found stock in unlikely places, such as hardware stores, restaurant suppliers, or office supply stores.
    ● Check websites frequently. If there is an item out of stock when shopping online, don’t give up hope right away. Bookmark the product page and check back daily. Many vendors restock high-demand products on a regular basis.
    ● Sign up for restock alerts. Many companies offer restock alerts, which are usually sent by email. For example, on Amazon, look for an availability alert on a product's information page. Amazon will send an e-mail when the item becomes available. Keep in mind, you still have to go to the website or store to make the purchase once the alert arrives.
    ● Go straight to the product’s source. If a brand name item isn’t available from a favorite retailer, check the brand’s official website to see if it’s in stock there. If not, consider getting in touch by emailing customer service or reaching out through social media.
    ● Take advantage of return policies. If you suspect that an item will sell out quickly but you aren’t sure if you really need or want it, review the store’s return policy. If a store gives you the option to return an item and offer a refund, you may want to purchase the item as soon as it’s available. You can always send it back if it doesn’t fit your needs, but you may regret not purchasing if the stock runs out for good.
    ● Search for products on resale sites. If a product appears to be gone for good, don’t lose hope just yet. Some resale sites may offer hard-to-find products. That said, watch out for scammers when looking for this year’s hottest toy or a product that is very popular. Con artists prey on desperate shoppers by pretending to have an item that is impossible to find, accepting payments, and then never delivering the product.
    ● Consider a personal shopping service. Personal shoppers can do the heavy lifting if there is a very specific product you are hunting for. Be sure to read reviews and ask for recommendations from friends and family members before deciding to hire.
    ● Try out a subscription service. Subscription services offer regular deliveries of cleaning products, clothing and more. If the local stores are running out of fresh produce, for example, consider a meal delivery service.
    ● Be patient. Sometimes, despite the best efforts, it just may not be possible to find most popular items. If this happens to you, be patient. You may have to wait a few months until suppliers can meet consumers’ demands.
    Until next time!

    • 5 min

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