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BBB is joining forces with federal, state, and local government agencies to promote consumer education during National Consumer Protection Week, March 3 – March 9, 2013.
As part of National Consumer Protection Week, BBB recommends five easy steps consumers can take to become a smarter and savvier consumer:
1. Always check out a business with BBB first.
· Go to www.bbb.org to see 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.
2. Get everything in writing and always read the fine print.
· Contracts are meant to protect a business and consumers by outlining the terms of the agreement.
· Whenever signing a contract, BBB recommends reading the fine print carefully.
· Don’t just take a sales associate’s word for it; get all verbal promises in writing.
3. Protect your identity—and your wallet. Fighting identity theft means staying vigilant online and offline. Protect your identity by taking the following steps:
· Always shred sensitive documents that include personal financial information such as bank, credit card and Social Security numbers.
· Monitor your financial accounts closely to more quickly detect suspicious activity.
· Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and be extremely selective when opening attachments or clicking on links in e-mails.
· Shop online through secure sites only and always confirm that the business is trustworthy before entering your credit or debit card number.
4. Never wire money to someone you don’t know.
· Many scams bilk victims by convincing them to wire money.
· It is difficult to track money sent via wire services.
· Even if you’ve been given a check to cover the amount you’re wiring, never send money to someone you don’t know personally. The check could be fraudulent, leaving you liable for the money.
5. Know where to complain. If you’ve been a victim of a scam or treated unfairly by a business, there are many organizations and government agencies you can turn to for help. You can file a complaint with:
· The Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org.
· The Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.
· And, your state Attorney General’s office.