Ten Ways To Be A Smarter Consumer This Year

The Better Business Bureau has come up with a list of 10 resolutions that could help protect you from being ripped off–and best of all, they’re easy to keep. Here are five that you should already be doing.

1. Beware of “job” offers to make easy money. Unemployment in the nation 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.

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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. Read the terms and conditions of any “free” trial offer before handing over credit or debit card numbers.

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 e-mails unless you can confirm the e-mail came from someone you trust. [See the bottom of our recent Best Buy Optimization post for idiot-proof ways to achieve this. -Ed.]

5. Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Many scams require that the victim wire money back to the scammers. Scammers know that tracking money sent via MoneyGram or Western Union is extremely difficult. Even more troubling for victims is the fact that it’s nearly impossible to get your money back.

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

“BBB’s Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions for a Consumer-Savvy 2010″