ALLIANCE, Ohio – Kim Thompson, director of external communications for the Canton Better Business Bureau (BBB), discussed “Tips and Tricks to Stay Ahead of Scams” on Tuesday morning at the University of Mount Union during the first Continued Learning Program (CLP) in February.
Thompson began working at the BBB in 2014 in her current job which allows her give presentations to the public about ways they can stay ahead of scams and to recognize when they are being contacted by a scammer.
The BBB is meant to give people security of mind that they are choosing reputable companies and charities. Each business receives a letter grade to distinguish the companies standing and charities go through a rigorous process to become accredited.
Thompson discussed the most common types of scams people are likely to come across at some point.
“It can happen to the best of us,” she said. “The scammers are so smart about it.”
The first scam discussed was the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and US Treasury scam. For this type, people will get a phone call from a person claiming to be a part of the agencies and tell the person they are in debt and owes money.
“Government agencies do not call you,” Thompson said. “They send you mail.”
Another big scam is the emergency scam, also known as the grandparent scam. This is where a scammer pretends a person’s family member or friend is in trouble and need money. The scammer will ask the person, generally an elderly individual, to purchase prepaid cards or gift cards.
A scammer will try to get a person emotional or even call them at night so they are less likely to ask questions. Thompson encourages people to take the time to consider what is happening, what is being asked of them and what is at stake.
“Just keep in mind nothing is really that important,” Thompson said. “You need to take the time and think about it before you act.”
In order to prevent scams from occurring, people should take precautions and pay attention. It is important to not give personal information over the phone, to check bank statements and credit scores regularly for discrepancies and to not click on links in emails.
“Just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Thompson said.
When it comes to donating to charities, www.give.org is a good place to check how reputable a charity is and to see if it is accredited.
If a person thinks they are being scammed, they can call the BBB at for assistants and to alert them of the scam.
CLP takes place on Tuesdays in October, February and April. The program is open to the public and all are welcome to attend.
The next CLP will be held on Tuesday, February 13 at 10 a.m. in the Newbold Room in the Hoover- Price Campus Center. The presentation, titled “Flying to the Pacific in a Small Plane,” will be presented by Brad and Sue Goris.
For more information about CLP, contact Abby Honaker Schroeder by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.