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Crime & Safety
Every week, join Whitney Quick as she helps you navigate life as a smart consumer. You'll cover everything in avoiding the latest scams, including phishing emails, medical equipment fraud, understanding layaway, hiring a reputable tax preparer, and even digital spring cleaning. Add to your toolbox and flip through your Consumer Handbook Thursdays during NPR’s Morning Edition at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., only on KRCU.

Consumer Handbook: 10 Resolutions To Avoid Scams In 2020

Better Business Bureau

As the new year begins, Better Business Bureau has developed 10 resolutions that can help you fight scammers, prevent identity theft, and find trustworthy businesses and charities in the coming year.

The following resolutions can help consumers have a safe, fraud-free 2020:  

1. Check a business out with BBB before you buy. Visit bbb.org to find BBB Business Profiles for 5.3 million businesses across North America. 

2. Be skeptical if you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS. The IRS doesn’t call people or email them to inform them of taxes or penalties due nor does it threaten to arrest or sue taxpayers.

3. Always read the fine print — especially with “free” trial offers. Thousands of consumers have complained to BBB after signing up for a “free” trial offer online that resulted in repeated charges to their credit or debit cards. 

4. Keep your computer safe. Install anti-virus software on your computer and check regularly for software and operating system updates and patches. Don’t open attachments or click on links in emails unless you can confirm the email came from someone you trust. 

5. Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Scammers know that tracking wired money is extremely difficult. Once it’s happened, it’s nearly impossible to get it back. 

6. Shred paper documents that include sensitive financial data. Dispose of computers, cell phones, and digital data safely. 

7. Ask BBB for help. File a complaint with BBB if you have a dispute with a business or have been ripped off by a scammer. 

8. Don’t give to fraudulent charities. Research charities carefully before making a donation. 

9. Fight fake check fraud. Be extremely wary of checks that come with claims that you’ve won a lottery, are eligible for a government grant or have landed a job as a secret shopper. 

10. Get everything in writing.