African American continue to experience the largest percentage of victims when it comes to scams, fraud and rip-offs. The scams cover everything from home repair, home mortgage, home improvement, auto repair and a host of other consumer issues. As the economy continues to tighten many predict this trend will grow as more companies and individuals grow more desperate to maintain company profits.
Most service and customer minded companies and individuals (including me) won't mind you checking them out. But the companies, contractors and agents who have spotty records, no license or have a shady pass will get nervous having someone check their background.
A recent government study also found African Americans not only the most victimized but also the least likely to research or check out a companies record before hiring them. Many companies and individuals take advantage of this little known fact and target African Americans. These shady companies and individuals tempt their victims with low prices, easy credit , or exaggerated promises to get their business. To avoid background checks they stress acting now or risk losing the low price, easy credit or other bonus or free offer promise.
One of the main reasons most people don't take the time to check out a company or individuals background come down to two reasons, based on research. Those two reasons is knowledge and convenience. Most people have only a vague idea of who to contact. Those knowing who to contact found it time consuming to write or call the right consumer protection agency.
With today's computer technology, the days of waiting on hold for your entire lunch break or worse is over. Many companies who make it their business to protect consumers continue to work feverishly to make it easy for consumers to check out companies, individuals and to lodge complaints.
Here's two organizations to contact to quickly check a business before you give them your money. Simply Google the organization to get their web address.
1. The Better Business Bureau
The BBB works as an arbitrator between consumer and companies
The BBB doesn't hold legal authority over companies (I'll discuss those later) it keeps complaint records on companies and charities, and issues fraud alerts.
The BBB also handles complaints on internet companies as well.
2. Your State Department of Consumer Affairs
State Department of Consumer Affairs covers consumer related businesses in your state. They offer the most popular scams currently in your state as well as scam protection tips. They offer quick and convenient online complaint forms and more.
One of the keys to protecting yourself and your wallet from scam artist or non-caring company is to get in the habit of quickly checking out companies or individuals you do business with. Remember the quality companies or individuals don't mind this. At the very least Google the company or person. You'll find the more you do it the easier it will be, like breathing.
In fact, you'll feel uncomfortable not checking out new companies you do business with. That's a good thing, because you're risk of victimization drops drastically.