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Wise Consumer Tips


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Simple advice for being a smart consumer in today's marketplace.

Published in: Business, Economy & Finance
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Wise Consumer Tips

  1. 1. The Wise Consumer A Public Service of the Better Business Bureau Committed to Fairness in the Marketplace
  2. 2. Your Personal Information <ul><li>Never give personal information to an unknown telemarketer claiming to represent your bank or some other institution with which you conduct business. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Bank and credit card accounts <ul><li>Report missing credit cards immediately </li></ul><ul><li>Review statements, report errors promptly </li></ul><ul><li>Never share account passwords, ATM cards or pin numbers with anyone </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t put bill payments in unsecured mailboxes </li></ul><ul><li>Shred paperwork containing sensitive personal information before discarding </li></ul>
  4. 4. Bogus e-mail <ul><li>Do not respond to e-mail solicitations asking for your personal identification, such as Social Security or bank account numbers. </li></ul><ul><li>Legitimate businesses don’t operate this way </li></ul>
  5. 5. Prizes, lotteries and special opportunities <ul><li>Never pay a “processing fee” to claim a “prize you have won” </li></ul><ul><li>Such “fees” are illegal . </li></ul>
  6. 6. Electronic fraud <ul><li>Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet. </li></ul><ul><li>If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Work–at–home <ul><li>“ Red flags” for work at home offers; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You are asked to pay for “supplies” or “training” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You will need to meet strict “standards” for your work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You will be doing “medical billing” from home </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Work–at–home <ul><li>For any work-at-home offer, check with the BBB before sending money to the company </li></ul><ul><li>Remember: there is no easy way to earn significant income working from home </li></ul>
  9. 9. Door-to-door solicitors <ul><li>Home repairs, gardening, charity, etc. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>DO ask for street address, telephone and local references </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DO check on the business with your BBB </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DON’T pay cash up front </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DON’T accept the offer immediately </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. High-pressure <ul><li>Limited time offer </li></ul><ul><li>You must act now </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Often an effort to get you to buy in haste, before scrutinizing the deal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be wary of such tactics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consult friends, family, professional organizations and the BBB </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Go at your own pace </li></ul>
  11. 11. “ Insider information” <ul><li>Crooks claim to have special connections with suppliers, manufacturers or other businesses </li></ul><ul><li>“ Special access” equals “great deals” </li></ul><ul><li>Thoroughly investigate such claims with your Better Business Bureau </li></ul>
  12. 12. Be a wise consumer! <ul><li>Check out an unfamiliar business thoroughly. Look for an affiliation with professional organizations and visit for valuable information on marketplace activity. Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t “feel right” it probably isn’t! </li></ul>
  13. 13. Federal Trade Commission <ul><li>Visit the Federal Trade Commission website at </li></ul><ul><li>Web resources at FTC have many useful articles/warnings related to a large variety of businesses </li></ul>
  14. 14. State Attorney General <ul><li>Your State Attorney General’s office is another useful resource for research or resolution </li></ul><ul><li>A national listing can be found at; </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  15. 15. In summary Take the time necessary to establish the legitimacy of any company, service or vendor that is new to you, especially if they have approached you . Such research should include a verifiable business location telephone number and other indications of sustained commercial activity. Consult your local BBB and other sources of information. You’ll be glad you did!