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.

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.

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.

Update Your Software to Help Prevent Ransomware!


Update Your Software to Help Prevent Ransomware!

BBB Tips to Help Protect Your Computer

 

(Lake Havasu City, AZ – May 17, 2017)  A major ransomware attack was unleashed worldwide on Friday, infecting at least 75,000 computers in 99 countries, according to preliminary reports. The ransomware locked computers and networks using file encryption software, and demanded payment by Bitcoin (a non-traceable crypto-currency) to release the data.

 

The attack typically enters through a phishing email and then spreads to other machines on the same network by exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. Although Microsoft discovered the vulnerability and released a patch in March, many computer users do not regularly update their operating systems and may have missed the critical repair.

 

Better Business Bureau joins with the National Cyber Security Alliance in suggesting the following cyber hygiene defenses:

  • Don’t click on links from unfamiliar sources. Even if you think you know the sender, be cautious about clicking on email links. When in doubt, delete it. Be especially wary of messages requiring you to act quickly, asking for personal information, or threatening you in any way.
  • Keep clean machines: Prevent infections by updating critical software as soon as patches or new operating system versions are available. This includes mobile and other internet-connected devices.
  • Use strong authentication, requiring more than a username and password to access accounts, especially critical networks, to prevent access through stolen or hacked credentials. Check out Lock down your login for more information.
  • Conduct regular backups of systems: Systems can be restored in cases of ransomware and having current backup of all data speeds the recovery process.
  • Make better passwords: In cases where passwords are still used, require long, strong and unique passwords to better harden accounts against intrusions.

Businesses need to take special precautions when it comes to protecting their customers’ information. One of the BBB Standards for Trust is:

Safeguard Privacy: Protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of consumers regarding the use of their information.

 

One of the ways businesses can safeguard privacy is by taking BBB’s “Five Steps to Better Business Cybersecurity” (bbb.org/cybersecurity).

 

Consumers can learn more about avoiding scams and fraud at bbb.org/scamtips.

 

BBB.org

BBB Teams with ADT and Trade Associations to Help Consumers Fight Deceptive Door-to-Door Alarm Sales

BBB Teams with ADT and Trade Associations to Help Consumers Fight Deceptive Door-to-Door Alarm Sales

(Lake Havasu City, AZ – May 10, 2017) With thousands of consumers victimized by fraudulent door-to-door home security sales every summer, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is sounding the alarm about deceptive tactics.

Reaching a national audience from Sacramento, BBB, local victims and leaders of two security industry associations, along with ADT – a leading home security company, BBB Accredited Business and National Partner – joined forces May 9 to alert consumers.

“Consumers should feel safe wherever they are,” said Mary E. Power, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “When a con takes advantage of people, literally at their front door, it poses a significant challenge. We appreciate the industry taking a lead on helping BBB address these deceptive sales tactics.”

In 2016, over a half million consumers across North America used BBB resources to research information about home security companies; but thousands also complained about dishonest and misleading sales pitches.

Speaking out yesterday was victim Marie Marshall. The 86-year-old was deceived into switching her ADT service to another company, which the salesman falsely claimed was affiliated with ADT. Marshall is now in a 60-month contract with that company, paying a higher monthly rate.

“By the time I realized I had signed with another company, it was too late,” said Marshall. “I am very disappointed that I got duped into doing business with a company that practices deceptive sales.”

BBB offers the following tips for consumers considering a home security system:

Choose a trustworthy business.

  • Consider your security needs and the specific valuables you want protected.
  • Consider your security requirements and budget.
  • Get recommendations from your homeowners or renters insurance carrier.
  • Always check out businesses at bbb.org.

Contact at least three companies.

  • Make sure they are properly licensed in your area.
  • Ask if they run criminal background checks on employees prior to hiring.
  • Make sure they pledge to uphold industry standards. You can look them up at the Electronic Security Association or the Canadian Security Association.

Ask about all charges up front.

  • Prices vary based on the level of protection and type of technology.
  • Compare bids on similar systems.
  • Factor in the initial installation charge as well as monthly monitoring fees.
  • Talk to your insurance agent to see if the system qualifies for a discount on your homeowner’s premiums.

Know the ins and outs of your contract.

  • Will your alarm system be monitored? By the installing company or a third-party?
  • What is the length of the contract (typically 2-5 years)?
  • What is your recourse if you are not satisfied? Can you cancel the contract?
  • What are your rights if your monitoring company is purchased or acquired by another alarm company?

What happens if you change your mind after the sale? In the United States, the “cooling off” rule is three-days for door-to-door sales.

Here are some “red flags” to watch out for:

  • High pressure sales tactics
  • Deals that sound too good to be true
  • Lack of company identification
  • A poor rating with BBB

“We urge those who are selling security systems to abide by the BBB Standards for Trust,” said Conner. “Tell the truth, honor promises, and embody integrity.”

-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.