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BBB Celebrates National Consumer Protection Week March 2-8, 2014

Thousands of consumers turn to Better Business Bureau as the preeminent resource on businesses, and their goal is to go the extra mile in encouraging consumers to take full advantage of their rights.
MIDLAND -- Thousands of consumers turn to Better Business Bureau as the preeminent resource on businesses, and their goal is to go the extra mile in encouraging consumers to take full advantage of their rights. Better Business Bureau is joining with federal, state and local government agencies to promote consumer education during the 16th annual National Consumer Protection Week, March 2-8, 2014.

Being a smart consumer is easy, BBB offers these five simple steps:

1. Always check out a business with BBB first.

· Go to bbb.org/central-texas 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. While it’s natural to want to skim through parts of the long-written terms and conditions, it is important that customers fully understand their rights and what they’re agreeing to.

3. Protect your identity—and your pocketbook.

· 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. Be sure to monitor your financial accounts closely to more quickly detect suspicious activity.

4. Never wire money to someone you don’t know.

· Scammers know it’s extremely difficult to track money sent via MoneyGram or Western Union. More troubling for victims is the fact that it’s nearly impossible to get your money back once it’s been sent via wire.


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:

o Your Better Business Bureau at bbb.org/central-texas

o Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov

o Your state Attorney General’s office



Additional:

· Each day during NCPW, BBB will issue a daily consumer protection tip on a variety of consumer issues, such as common scams, identity theft protection, hiring a contractor, giving wisely to charity and other consumer resources.

· In addition, BBB professionals will be participating in several speaking engagements across Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin educating consumers on identity theft and common scams.

· Check in daily with BBB through Facebook (www.facebook.com/yourBBB), Twitter (@CentralTexasBBB) and our blog (watchyourbuck.com) to see the daily consumer protection tips and to share ideas and tips of your own.
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