Suddenly we find ourselves in a New Year and time just seems to keep moving faster. Here at Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB), we find ourselves caught in this same current. We’re subject to the same pressures most if not all of us feel. Doing what we do, as a unique, nonprofit organization whose vision is a marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other, we recognize the importance of slowing things down from time to time; the value of doing the legwork to ensure the things that you’re doing are in your best interest.
Scammers, as a group, recognize the speed at which things move today. They know people feel harried, even off-balance sometimes, as we navigate our days. They know this pressure we all feel works to their advantage, and they make full use of it.
In recent years, BBB has seen the number of scams skyrocket. Our main scam reporting tool, BBB Scam Tracker, will soon reach 100,000 reports from consumers. And even that is only a very small percentage of the instances of fraud attempted against consumers and businesses across the US and throughout North America.
We feel the best tools people have to protect themselves from fraud are skepticism and time. The days where we could take people at their word are gone, alas. This doesn’t at all mean we can’t or shouldn’t trust people. But when it comes to our financial affairs and our personal information we can’t be too careful. It’s important to take things you’re told – be it via the phone, email or text message – with a grain of salt. And it’s vitally important to take your time and research the offers you receive; the things you’re told and the companies you seek to do business with at bbb.org. Don’t be pressured by anyone. Always remember that you have rights.
As the year begins, we want people of all ages to know this: you’re a potential target of fraud and scams. But you are not powerless. There are many local, state and federal agencies and organizations – including BBB – that seek to keep consumers and business owners in the know and up to date on schemes targeting them. Law enforcement, both locally and nationally, is a valuable resource as well.
We here at BBB know we’re not the flashiest organization and we’re certainly not the most high-powered. We can’t arrest anyone and we can’t shut suspect entities down, as people often request. But what we are is here to help. Whether you’re a consumer or a business owner, we’re here for you, and we have been since 1912.
The world is far from perfect, and we’re not perfect, either. We’ve made mistakes, as every organization has. That being said, our goal is as simple as it is laudable: We’re here to make things better.
We are your BBB.