Don’t Let an Eclipse Blind You to Scams

(Lake Havasu City, AZ – August 16, 2017) For the first time since June 1918 a total solar eclipse will be visible from coast to coast in the United States, travelling across the nation from Oregon to South Carolina on August 21, 2017. People will be able to observe via television, telescopes, or their own eyes; however, big events also mean big opportunities for scammers and unethical businesses. Better Business Bureau (BBB) reminds everyone the importance of planning carefully and trusting your instincts.

Be on the lookout for the following scams as you get ready for the eclipse:

Counterfeit Eclipse Glasses

Never look directly at the sun. To view the eclipse without damage to your eyes, use solar filter glasses. While sunglasses block about 50 percent of the sun’s rays, solar filter glasses block more than 99.99 percent. Unfortunately, many solar glasses available online may be fake or do not meet safety specifications. Your best bet is to stick with a brand certified by NASA or the American Astronomical Society (AAS) – for a list of reputable vendors visit eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters.

Additional tips for safe viewing:

  • Regular sunglasses, even very dark sunglasses, are not enough.
  • Warn children of the danger of viewing the eclipse without protective eyewear.
  • Do not observe the eclipse through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.
  • Read more about viewing the solar eclipse safely at eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.

Accommodation Scams

If looking for a place to stay during the eclipse, be careful when booking online through a third-party site. Check with bbb.org to see what previous customers have to say about their experience. Don’t deal with anyone who asks for payment outside the website’s approved options, and ask for a confirmation number or email. Always double check that a listing is on the real website and emails are coming from official addresses. Using a credit card offers the best fraud protection.

There have been reports of travelers who booked hotels for the eclipse long in advance (before it was widely publicized) only to see their reservations canceled or moved to hotels far from viewing spots. Some of the original rooms are then offered again at a much higher rate. If you are travelling out of town for the eclipse and have a hotel booked, double-check your reservations before heading out.

Event Scams

Cities across the path of totality are offering free and/or VIP viewing parties. Scammers may set up fake events online or through social media and charge people for access to what should be a free event. NASA has information on many events at eclipse2017.nasa.gov/event-locations.

Bus Scams

Traffic will likely be very heavy on any road between a major city and the eclipse path. A bus might sound like great option, but be careful you don’t make a reservation only to end up without transportation. Make sure you deal directly with a bus or limo company to avoid scammers using a legitimate business as a front. Go to bbb.org to look for Accredited Businesses and read reviews and complaints before you book.

This month’s eclipse may be a rare chance to see an extraordinary astronomical event right in your backyard. That urgency and unique opportunity are what can make scams successful. Remember to do your research and if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If you are the victim of a scam related to the eclipse, go to BBB.org/scamtracker to file a scam report.

BBB.ORG

For more information or to schedule an interview with a BBB spokesperson, please contact Elaine Cullen at 928-302-3701 or ecullen@arizonabbb.org.

About Better Business Bureau Serving Central, Northern & Western Arizona

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities – all available for free at bbb.org.  Incorporated locally in 1938, BBB Serving Central, Northern and Western Arizona covers 10 counties through its campuses in Phoenix, Lake Havasu City, Prescott and Yuma supported by over 11,600 BBB Accredited Businesses. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to high standards of ethical business practices. BBB provides objective advice, free business and charity profiles, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.
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Better Business Bureau, 4428 N. 12th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85014 United States

New Program Aimed At Helping Arizona Startups

New Program Aimed at Helping Arizona Startups to be Led by Kimberly Roland at Better Business Bureau

(Lake Havasu City, AZ – August 10, 2017) Better Business Bureau (BBB) has a century-long reputation of building trust in the marketplace and now is looking to help build better businesses from the ground up through entrepreneur programs. To lead its new effort, BBB Serving Central, Northern and Western Arizona welcomes Kimberly Roland as Director of Entrepreneur Programs. Roland joins the organization as the Director of Entrepreneur Programs.

The new director will drive innovation at BBB and the greater community through the creation of entrepreneurial programming and spaces where both accredited businesses and startups can cowork, collaborate.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the Arizona and American economies, so creating a space where they can incubate, learn, collaborate, and work will certainly advance our mission,” said BBB President/CEO Matthew Fehling. “Entrepreneurial programming focused on ethics is an innovative addition to the long list of services we already provide accredited businesses and community members.”

Prior to joining BBB in July 2017, Roland served as the Manager of Partner Relations in Entrepreneurship + Innovation at Arizona State University where she managed programs and external partnerships in the greater business and startup community. She has also worked for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance and Feeding America and has extensive experience in nonprofit programming and innovation.

Background areas include: program development, research, human centered design, social media management, evaluation, grant writing, event management, cultivating strategic partnerships, program and process innovation, and evaluation.

“I am excited to use my experience and background in innovation and program development to help BBB serve Arizona’s startup community,” said Roland. “There are so many valuable resources offered by local organizations that collaboration will be key to our success. My hope is that the new program’s collaborative effort will truly impact and help entrepreneurs.”

Roland is a Phoenix native. She is incredibly passionate about food, traveling, and issues of social justice.

To learn more about BBB Serving Central, Northern and Western Arizona and its efforts to help small businesses, visit www.arizonabbb.org

BBB.ORG

For more information or to schedule http://BBB.ORGan interview with a BBB spokesperson, please contact Elaine Cullen at 928-302-3701 or ecullen@arizonabbb.org.


About Better Business Bureau Serving Central, Northern & Western Arizona

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities – all available for free at bbb.org. Incorporated locally in 1938, BBB Serving Central, Northern and Western Arizona covers 10 counties through its campuses in Phoenix, Lake Havasu City, Prescott and Yuma supported by over 11,600 BBB Accredited Businesses. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to high standards of ethical business practices. BBB provides objective advice, free business and charity profiles, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.

Havasu Area Public Art Proudly Presents The Second Annual Bar Stool Auction

  • Calling all Barstool painters to reinvent an old barstool into a piece of furniture with a story and/or personality.

  • The Barstool Auction is Sept. 16 At the Flying X starts at 5-7. Barstools entries can be dropped off at that location between 10-12.

  • It is promoted by and benefits HAPA, Havasu Area Public Art. To fund projects like the one on Main Street with the cars.

  • Last Years auction helped pay for the artist to paint it. We are a group of people/artists who are very committed to ‘ ARTing up’ Havasu.

  • We had over 30 entries for the live and silent auction. It was a blast for all who participated or bid on a barstool.

  • Art pieces to include both murals and sculpture pieces.

Havasu Area Public Art proudly presents the Second Annual Bar Stool Auction. Dozens of original, one of a kind, bar stools created by local artists will be available at auction or raffle. Proceeds benefit future public art projects for Lake Havasu City. Event is hosted by the Flying X Saloon. Viewing begins at 5 pm, the auction starts at 6 pm, followed by the raffle. Admission is FREE. For information about the event or creating a bar stool call Pam 928.412.7726.

Founded by Dick and Betty

BBB’s Ethical Athlete Scholarships

Being a great athlete isn’t just about running the fastest or jumping the highest. It’s also about doing the right thing. That’s why Better Business Bureau (BBB) has partnered with Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) to recognize Arizona high school athletes whose ethics standout to coaches, teammates, and fans. Do you know an athlete that does the right thing on and off the field? Nominate them today we’re at BBB ethical athlete’s scholarship, click here to see more details.

The Better Business Bureau has partnered with Isagenix to recognize high school athletes doing the right thing on and off the court. Two athletes are chosen each month during the school year. Each month a $1,000 scholarship is issued to one male and one female. Then, all the winners during the school year are eligible for the “Ethical Champion” at the end of the school year and two of our winners (again, one male, one female) will receive an additional $2,500 scholarship.

Do you know the next the winner? We’ve already had three winners in Mohave County – two from Mohave High School and one from Lake Havasu High School and hopefully more to come!

Monsoon Storms Bring Rain…and Bugs

Seven Tips to Hire the Right Pest Control Company

Hot summer days coupled with monsoon rains often result in unwanted critters such as ants, spiders, and/or roaches. Better Business Bureau (BBB) shares tips to help decide whether to tackle pests on your own or hire a professional. Last monsoon season, BBB received more than 13,100 inquiries on pest control services in Arizona, making it one of the most searched industries. In the last 30 days, BBB has received over 800 inquiries for pest control services along with 54 customer reviews and 10 complaints.

Keep your home critter-free

• Inspect your home for leaks and ensure splash blocks and pipes
divert water several feet away from the foundation
• Trim branches and foliage away from the house
• Remove trash regularly and tightly cover trash receptacles

Hire a trustworthy pest control company

1. Research pest control companies at bbb.org before hiring
2. Check the company’s pest control license with the Arizona Office of
Pest Management
3. Ask for free estimates that include list of services and cost
4. Request everything is writing, including verbal promises
5. Read all agreements before signing
6. Review extended-service agreements
7. Clarify warranty details – what it covers, for how long, etc.

Extra Tip: Be leery of companies that go door-to-door offering free
inspections, requesting payment in cash, and using high-pressure sales
tactics.

For a list of trustworthy pest control companies, visit bbb.org.
-BBB.ORG

For more information or to schedule an interview with a BBB spokesperson, please contact Elaine Cullen at 928-302-3701 or ecullen@arizonabbb.org.

About Better Business Bureau Serving Central, Northern & Western Arizona For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities – all available for free at bbb.org. Incorporated locally in 1938, BBB Serving Central, Northern and Western Arizona covers 10 counties through its campuses in Phoenix, Lake Havasu City, Prescott and Yuma supported by over 11,600 BBB Accredited Businesses. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to high standards of ethical business practices. BBB provides objective advice, free business and charity profiles, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.

Five Myths About Scams Busted


Five Myths About Scams Busted

(Lake Havasu City, AZ – June 7, 2017) There are many misconceptions about scams, several of which help scammers steal not only money, but also personal information. To help consumers understand the reality around scams, Better Business Bureau (BBB) shares five common myths along with resources to stay safe.

BBB gathers information on scams through BBB Scam Tracker, an online tool where the public can share and view scams happening all over the U.S. Every year, the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust releases statistics gathered from information provided through BBB Scam Tracker.

BBB shares five common myths about scams:

  1. Identifying a scam or scammer is easy – Most scammers are adept at manipulation and the scams they perpetrate are elaborate. Scammers put up a facade to make consumers believe they are legitimate and the internet can makes it easier to operate undetected. As soon as detection occurs, most scammers change their name and start the operation all over again. In reality, scams and scammers can be hard to detect.
  1. Mostly elderly and uneducated people fall for scams – Believing scams are someone else’s issue can be dangerous. At some point, everyone is a potential target. Almost 70 percent of scam victims are under the age of 45, and of those victims, almost 80 percent hold a college or graduate degree. The truth is, anyone can be a victim.
  1. Economically, scams don’t really affect the community – According to a report from BBB’s Institute for Marketplace Trust, one in five victims will lose money to a scammer this year and the estimated monetary loss for victims is $50 billion. In the end, money lost to scammers is money that could be spent supporting ethical businesses, nonprofits, and our community.
  1. No one can protect themselves from scammers – Sixty percent of victims reported that not knowing about a scam and the techniques used by scammers contributed to them falling for the scam. Of consumers who reported a scam to BBB, 80 percent claimed that being aware of a specific scam helped them avoid falling victim. As some say, knowledge is power and knowing about scams can protect consumers.
  1. Reporting a scam won’t help – Actually, reporting scams makes a difference. Half of those who take time to report scams do so to warn others. Reporting a scam to BBB’s Scam Tracker can help others learn about scams happening in their area.

BBB.ORG

For more information or to schedule an interview with a BBB spokesperson, please contact Elaine Cullen at 928-302-3701 or ecullen@arizonabbb.org.

Aquarius Raises $3,731 for Remembering Everyone Deployed

 

 

Aquarius Casino Resort Team Members helped to paint the river R.E.D. on Friday, May 26 in support of our military members, past and present by wearing their R.E.D. (Remember Everyone Deployed) T-shirts. The mission of RedShirtFridays.org, a non-political organization dedicated to honoring our nation’s servicemen and servicewomen serving our country overseas.

Team Members were given the opportunity to donate $5 and receive a R.E.D. T-shirt to wear at work during the “Casual for a Cause” Friday. At the conclusion of the fundraiser, Aquarius Team Members presented a $3,081 check to board members of the Tri-State Military Moms, Inc. representing 100% of the proceeds raised. The sale of shirts continued through Wednesday, May 31 adding an additional $650 that was given to the Tri-State Military Moms, Inc. on Thursday, June 1.
Along with Aquarius Team Members, several local tri-state businesses also held their own R.E.D. Friday including Laughlin Chamber of Commerce, Subway inside Aquarius, Eagle Motorcycle Rentals, Mohave State Bank, Stout Wellness, Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce and others. Each business choose either to purchase shirts from Aquarius Casino Resort or directly through the Tri-State Military Moms, Inc.
“Aquarius Casino Resort has the best team members who enjoy helping in every way possible.” said Aquarius General Manager Sean Hammond. “And what better cause than our Military Moms!”
All proceeds were donated to the Tri-State Military Moms, a local nonprofit organization that sends care packages to U.S. troops deployed overseas. The organization is also responsible for displaying all the banners on Highway 95 in Bullhead City, Arizona, showing the sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandsons, granddaughters, and all family members that are currently serving our country. They also organize coming home celebrations for our returning service members.
“We are humbled by the generosity of the Aquarius, their Team Members, residents, and visitors, for helping us to continue to support our military and the veterans who deserve to be remembered and appreciated each and every day” said Cindy Frizelle, President Tri-State Military Moms, Inc.
The R.E.D. T-shirt, Red Shirt Friday’s concept is part of the ongoing mission of RedShirtFridays.org and its founder Lloyd (Doc) Hofmeister, a U.S. military veteran.

10 BBB Tips for Renting a Car


10 BBB Tips for Renting a Car

(Lake Havasu City, AZ – May 25, 2017) Whether picking up a car at the airport while traveling or needing a vehicle while a car is in the shop, renting a car can be a confusing puzzle of rates, fees, and responsibilities. Looking for the best deal is good, but the advertised price may not include all possible fees.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers the following tips to help make your next car rental experience a little easier:

  1. Shop around. Car rental rates can vary depending on the company or the amount of lead time, so it pays to shop around and compare prices. You may get a better rate through a motor club, credit card, or other membership organization. One of the most important factors to consider is mileage. Is the rate quoted for unlimited mileage, or for a certain number of miles a day? Although most rental rates do include mileage, some still charge for every mile you drive. Before finalizing your selection, check BBB.org for past complaints, customer reviews, and more information on the company.
  1. Understand insurance. Check with your insurance agent or carrier to see if your existing policy covers damage to a rental vehicle or your liability as a driver. If so, you can skip buying insurance from the rental car company. If traveling for business, you may be covered by an employer’s policy. You may also have coverage from a motor club or credit card used for the transaction.
  1. Consider location. Renting from an airport-based rental facility may be more expensive than an off-airport location. Also, many rentals have an extra drop-off fee if you are returning the vehicle to a different location than where you picked it up.
  1. Look for package deals and discounts. Senior citizens, members of an auto club, and certain credit card holders may be eligible for discounts. You may also find discounted prices for certain dates, weekends, or longer rental periods. Some airlines and travel sites offer discounts if you book plane and rental car together, but don’t assume those bundled rates are the best.
  1. Ask about late or early return fees. Some renters have been surprised at late fees for returning a car late… or even early! Double check hours of operation and, whenever possible, avoid dropping off the vehicle off-hours and leaving the keys in a drop-box. It’s hard to dispute damage charges if you are not there when the vehicle is inspected.
  1. Choose a vehicle for your needs. Rental car terms such as “subcompact,” “compact,” and “sedan” may vary from one company to the next. If you are traveling solo for a short business trip, a subcompact may be plenty. If you are traveling with kids, car seats, luggage and lots of gear, a larger sedan or SUV might be preferable. If you are looking to “go green,” ask about hybrids or other eco-friendly vehicles. Most rental vehicles come with automatic transmission, but some sports cars are manual. If you can’t drive a stick shift, be sure to ask.
  1. Think about extras. Many car rental companies let you pre-purchase a full tank of gas so you don’t have to top it off right before you return the car. While this can be a convenience, it’s rarely the best deal for the consumer. One fairly standard fee is for additional drivers (don’t let anyone drive your rental car unless they are on the agreement). Additional “upsell” offers may include a GPS device, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or “bumper-to-bumper” warranty, roadside assistance, a convertible or other luxury upgrade, etc. Decide before you get to the counter what you need.
  1. Read the fine print. Before you initial and sign the contract, read it and make sure you understand the terms. Check that the final price reflects what you understand the fees to be based on the advertising or your reservation. Note any additional fees or charges.
  1. Inspect the vehicle. Thoroughly inspect the rental car before you drive away. Note any damage such as scratches or dents in the body; stains or tears in the interior; cracks in the windshield or other windows, etc. If you see any damage or defect, make the company representative aware of it immediately so it’s noted on the car condition form. Take pictures of the damage or make a video and describe the damage as you record. Also check to see that the mileage is the same as what is recorded on your rental agreement.
  1. Inspect vehicle when returning. Before leaving the vehicle, be sure the check-in attendant inspects the car’s body in your presence and that you agree on any damage. Get a final print-out of the charges and check your statement later to make sure there are no unexpected charges.

-BBB.org-

For more information or to schedule an interview with a BBB spokesperson, please contact Elaine Cullen at 928-302-3701 or ecullen@arizonabbb.org.