BBB Tips: Consumer Protection Week, a Good Time to Secure Your Identity


National Consumer Protection Week, which is observed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), runs March 5 through March 11. It’s a time for consumers to remind themselves of the various ways they can keep scammers at bay. After all, there is no “National Scam Consumers Week” for these con artists – this is a lifestyle for these individuals and they don’t plan on taking a day off now. But, you can even the odds and tip them in your favor by remembering a few of your Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) tips. BBB is one of many partnering organizations with the FTC, spotlighting the weeklong emphasis on stopping financial scams.

The FTC designates this week as “a time for helping people understand their consumer rights and avoid frauds and scams.” To stay keen on your consumer protection rights and resources, visit their homepage at

In the meantime, arm yourself with BBB’s timeless tips for protecting your finances

The following practices should be top-of-mind all 52 weeks of the year:

  • Don’t trust the appearance of legitimacy. Scammers are adept at making their websites and emails look honest. With a simply copy and paste, they use logos and graphics from real online sources to support their swindles.
  • Don’t trust Caller ID. It’s easy to be “spoofed” thinking these are legit but scammers have discovered a way to falsify even these.
  • Don’t trust links and attachments that come in unsolicited emails and texts. Clicking on them can put malware on your device, leading to compromised data.
  • Don’t trust strangers who ask you to send money, especially by wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift card. It’s always a scam.
  • Do trust online sources when their website address contains the “s” in “https.” Look for the lock icon in the address bar as well.
  • Be suspicious of anyone you meet on online. This includes Craigslist, dating sites or on social media. Scammers lie and have developed a knack for it.
  • All your personal identification is highly valuable. Giving away just a tiny portion of it can be enough for a skilled scammer to put together a fake version of you. Closely guard your banking info, Social Security, and insurance numbers.
  • Make time your ally. Scammers pressure you to act quickly so you won’t be able to thoroughly consider their offer. Take your time. If they are legit, they will gladly let you.
  • Resist the urge to overshare on social media. Scammers mine Facebook and Twitter to learn details about your identity. Be especially careful about sharing travel plans until after the fact.
  • Monitor your accounts carefully. Thieves will start with a tiny amount to see if you’re paying attention, then move to bigger amounts if you don’t.
  • Use strong passwords and 2-step verification on all your online accounts. Always update your software and virus protections when prompted.

Remember that you have a strong advocate in BBB. Visit the BBB ScamTracker to find out what scammers are up to in your area and what consumers have experienced. For more questions or concerns about your Consumer Protection Rights, go to

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