BBBs top ten New Years resolutions for a consumer-savvy 2010

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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TRURO - The new year is here and because of the volatile economy it's more important that ever to resolve to be a savvy consumer. Better Business Bureau of the Maritime's offers the following 10 New Year's resolutions to fight scammers, prevent identity theft and save money in 2010.
1. Beware of "job" offers to make easy money. Unemployment is high and scammers are targeting the large pool of job hunters. Beware of any job offer, work-at-home scheme or business opportunity that promises big money for little work and no experience.

2. Look for the BBB seal and always check a business out with BBB before you buy. Nearly 400,000 businesses bear the BBB seal of accreditation and meet its standards; you can find the seal on websites and at business locations.

3. Always read the fine print - especially for "free" trial offers. Thousands of consumers complained to BBB in 2009 after signing up for a "free" trial offer online that resulted in repeated charges to their credit or debit cards, sometimes amounting to as much as hundreds of dollars every month.

4. Keep your computer safe. If you haven't already, install anti-virus software onto your computer and don't forget to regularly check 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. Many scams require that the victim wire money back to the scammers.

6. Fight identity theft. Always shred paper documents that include sensitive financial data and dispose of computers, cellphones and digital data safely.

7. Ask BBB for help. File a complaint with your BBB if you have a disagreement with a business or have been ripped off by a scammer.
8. Create a budget and stick to it. If you're a cash-strapped consumer, setting a budget can help you stay afloat in 2010.

9. Fight fake check fraud. Scammers have the ability to create very real-looking phony checks. Be extremely wary of checks that come with claims that you've won the lottery, are eligible for a government grant or have landed a job as a secret shopper.

10. Get everything in writing. Don't just take a business' word for it. Get every verbal agreement in writing to limit miscommunication between your expectations and what the business delivers.

Organizations: Better Business Bureau of the Maritime

Geographic location: New Years

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