The scams perpetrated upon consumers and businesses continue to grow in number, complexity and diversity, costing you and our economy millions of dollars each year. Even the most sophisticated organizations and savvy consumers are falling prey.
As a leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau Paso del Norte wants to help you understand how these scams work and what measures you can take to protect yourself. So we are launching our first BBBWare! Week, Oct. 21-26.
BBBWare! Week is part of our efforts to shift consumer and business behavior towards prevention and protection. While our work to expose unethical businesses, scams and fraud is critical to fostering marketplace trust, we want to make these tragic stories fewer and far between. Education is the centerpiece of that effort.
Working with our law enforcement and community partners, we will be drawing attention to a number of scams and providing information and resources to help individuals and businesses protect themselves.
Sadly, there are too many scams and targeted groups to address in one week, but our goal is to heighten awareness and help change consumer behavior and habits so that fewer people and businesses are likely to fall victim in the first place.
In this effort, we need to hear directly from victims who will share their stories. Our research has shown that many victims of scams feel a sense of shame or embarrassment, often blaming themselves, which is unfortunate. The scammers are extremely shrewd and able to dupe normally cautious and intelligent people. When victims do not come forward, criminals remain undetected and continue to harm others. Victims who share their experiences help BBB and law enforcement identify trends that can lead to prosecutions and prevent others from falling prey to the same deception.
During this inaugural BBBWare! Week, together with the office of the attorney general, the county attorney’s office, the FBI, the county tax assessor office, the city of El Paso, Fort Bliss, local utilities and local nonprofits, we will address common phone and internet scams: charitable and political contribution scams, consumer fraud in the home improvement business, used car sale scams and scams that specifically target seniors.
We will be doing television and radio interviews, providing useful information through social media and BBB.org, and ending the week with our bi-annual Secure Your ID free shredding event at our BBB offices on Oct. 26. We also will be contributing a series of articles to El Paso Inc. over the next several weeks on these and other topics to further increase awareness of these important issues.
Use the information and resources on BBB.org and from our partners to protect yourselves and your businesses. And if you fall victim to a scam, no matter how large or small, please report it on BBB.org/ScamTracker.
Marybeth Stevens has been the president of BBB Paso del Norte since December 2016. She is a graduate of Leadership Texas 2015.