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.
Online Shopping Scams--Baby Formula & More!
Welcome to this week’s edition of Your Moment of Trust! Shortages in the supply of baby formula are leading new moms to find other ways of finding the much-needed item--and risking themselves to potential online scams. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it is taking proactive measures to increase supply to help ease the shortage. According to the 2021 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, online shopping scams are the riskiest. With the current supply issues on many items, including formula, scammers are watching.
How it works: An ad, post, or social media group posts they have baby formula available. The buyer contacts the seller via chat or direct message, showing photos of the cans available. The buyer makes a payment through a peer-to-peer platform such as PayPal (a BBB Accredited Business) or Venmo (a BBB Accredited Business), but the formula never arrives.
Signs of a potential online purchase scam include:
● Positive reviews on the website that have been copied from honest sites or created by scammers. Be aware, some review websites claim to be independent but are funded by scammers. Check BBB.org.
● No indication of a brick-and-mortar address or the address shows on a Google map as a parking lot, residence, or unrelated business than what is listed on the website.
● Misspellings, grammatical errors, or other descriptive language that is inconsistent with the product.
● The seller advertises on a social media site and is communicative until the payment is made. Once the payment clears, they are unreachable. Check out the website before making a purchase:
● Visit BBB.org to check a business’s rating and BBB accreditation status. Impostors have been known to copy the BBB seal. If it is real, clicking on the seal will lead to the company’s BBB profile on BBB.org - check the domain of the URL.
● Conduct an internet search with the company name and the word “scam.” This may locate other complaints about the site.
● Make a note of the website where the order is placed. Take a screenshot of the item ordered, in case the website disappears, or a different item is received in the mail than what was advertised.
● Credit cards often provide more protection against fraud than other payment methods.
● Think before you click. Be especially cautious about email solicitations and online ads on social media sites. Report suspected online shopping fraud to:
● Better Business Bureau - file a complaint at BBB.org or report a scam at BBB.org/scamtracker.
● Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - file a complaint at reportfraud.ftc.gov or call 877-FTC-Help.
● National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center - report intellectual property and counterfeiting violations to iprcenter.gov/referral/view.
● Internet Crime Complaint enter (IC3) - file a complaint at ic3.gov/complaint. ● Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre - file a report at antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or call 1-888-495-8501.
● Facebook – report ads that violate Facebooks policies by clicking the *** next to an ad to go to facebook.com/business/help.
● Instagram - report copyright infringement or other policy violations at help.instagram.com.
● Amazon – report suspicious activities and webpages at Amazon.com.
● Google – report scams at Google.com.
● PayPal - call (888) 221-1161 to speak with a live person instead of using an automated system if you receive an item that is not as advertised.
● Credit card company - Call the phone number on the back of the credit card to report the fraud and request a refund.
Managing Passwords so you Don't get Hacked!
Securing today's online environment goes beyond thinking about the Wi-Fi router at home - and it all starts with a password. Passwords should be different for every account that lives online, is in the cloud, or is attached to something that retains personal or financial information. Think about the last time any of your online account passwords were changed. If they are all the same or a similar variation of the same password, if they are too easy to guess, or if they are forgotten or compromised - change them. According to the Federal Trade Commission, people don’t need to change their passwords as often as they may think; however, it's good practice make certain the password is as secure as possible.
Be sure to listen to this episode for password tips!
A BIG thank you to Ayers Automotive Repair in Santa Barbara for sponsoring this podcast.
What you Should Know About Asbestos if you Live in an Older Home
From BBB of the Tri-Counties: Asbestos fibers can cause serious health problems when inhaled. Even brief exposure has been known to cause me sothelioma. Ifyou live in an older home, you could be at risk. Asbestos repair or removal may be
necessary to protect you and your family’s health. Here’s what you need to know should you suspect your home has an asbestos problem.
A BIG thank you to Ayers Automotive Repair for sponsoring Your Moment of Trust
How to Know your Cleaning Products are Safe
Your Moment of Trust, from BBB of the Tri-Counties: Using green cleaning products in your home can reduce toxins, such as volatile organic compounds that are bad for your health and the environment. Green cleaners are more popular than ever, which means shoppers have plenty of choices. But navigating the seals, certifications, and marketing claims can be confusing. Here are tips for choosing cleaning products that are effective and safe for you and the environment. A BIG thank you Ayers Automotive Repairs in Santa Barbara for sponsoring this podcast.
Text Says you Won a Free Gift--Don't Buy it !
In the past few weeks, BBB Scam Tracker has received numerous reports of a text message scam that attempts to trick people with the promise of a “free gift.” How the scam works: You receive a text message that says something like this: “Your bill is paid for March. Thanks, here’s a little gift for you.” This message is followed by a link to an unfamiliar website. The text doesn’t specify what bill you paid, what company the message is coming from, or what the total amount was. Even more disturbing, the message may be a group text sent to a dozen or more other people, none of whom are in your contacts list. The text isn’t from a real company. The goal is to get your personal information, which puts you at risk for identity theft. In some versions of the scam, you may be directed to a website asking you to “confirm your identity,” so you can receive the gift. Scammers may also ask for your credit card information, claiming you need to pay a few dollars to ship the “free” gift. A BIG thank you to Ayers Automotive Repairs in Santa Barbara for sponsoring this podcast.
Tips for Gardening & Landscaping
Gardening season is finally here! You may be envisioning all the herbs, flowers, and vegetables you’ll harvest at the end of the season. But you’ll need to put in hard work – not to mention money – to make your dream garden a reality. In this episode, BBB of the Tri-Counties gives tips to make a success of your garden and stay on budget. A BIG thank you Ayers Automotive Repairs in Santa Barbara, for sponsoring this podcast!