Rockford named a Better Business Town
The Better Business Bureau was established more than 100 years ago to promote an ethical marketplace for both businesses and consumers. The BBB serving Chicago and northern Illinois is 95 years old, and the regional office here in Rockford opened 35 years ago.
After the pandemic delayed launch of a new BBB initiative last fall, it came to fruition last week with Rockford being named one of the first Better Business Towns.
It’s a program designed to recognize local communities that promote an ethical and trustworthy business marketplace.
The Forest City is being recognized because in our Better Business Bureau service area, Rockford is a top 10 town with the most accredited businesses and is also a top 10 town with most web traffic to BBB.org.
As a BBB town, Rockford shows itself to be an ideal place to establish a business and shows consumers that ethical business practices are a core value of the community.
This designation also shows the city’s support for the BBB’s eight standards of trust. These are the principals by which all accredited businesses pledge to adhere to. They are: build trust, advertise honestly, tell the truth, be transparent, honor promises, be responsive, safeguard privacy and embody integrity.
Mayor Tom McNamara was presented with a plaque recognizing the city, after which he read and presented to me a proclamation in which he proclaimed Rockford to be a Better Business Town.
As the city begins to open up following the pandemic, the mayor pointed out the significance of the designation for local businesses and consumers as both struggle to get back to normal. He urged residents to think local, buy local, and to support those businesses that have attained BBB accreditation.
The Illinois Department of Transportation has issued a reminder warning to be the alert for text and email scams asking for personal information. Over the last several weeks, IDOT has been made aware of messages sent fraudulently on its behalf attempting to defraud the public.
According to Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman, “If you receive a text or email that appears to be from IDOT asking for your personal information, you can be sure it’s a scam.”
Department officials acknowledge the messages look official, but they want the public to know IDOT will never request personal information, such as Social Security numbers or banking information, via text or email. If you receive such a message, delete it.
Here are the general rules we recommend to protect your personal information:
- Delete unsolicited emails and text. Do not click on any links contained in such emails or text.
- Hang up on any calls, including robocalls, that ask you to take immediate action or provide personally identifiable information.
- Ask to use other types of identifiers besides your Social Security number.
- Keep your software up to date, including operating systems and antivirus protection programs.
Surfside, Florida building collapse donation scams
In the wake of the Surfside condominium building collapse in South Florida, the Better Business Bureau is warning about fraudulent fundraising activity.
It is not unusual for scammers to follow the news of the day and launch schemes and scams on the heels of disasters that have caused damaging situations that negatively impact individuals and families.
Along with the tragic loss of life, there will be millions of dollars in property damage.
There will be many legitimate efforts to raise funds to support those effected by the building collapse. But there will also be other efforts by fraudsters who will seek to take advantage of individuals who want to offer monetary support.
Individuals who wish to donate should look for established charities that meet the BBB’s standards for charity accountability.
If you’re donating to a crowdfunding campaign, you should pay special attention to the posting, check the wording carefully and make sure the funds will be used for specific purposes.
Photos used in the post are often used without permission, so don’t assume the money will benefit whoever is pictured in the listing.
If you don’t know who is coordinating the crowdfunding effort, the next best thing is to find a campaign that is working with an established charity.
In doing research online, when you consider giving to a specific charity, search its name plus “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.”
Tips to avoid charity scams in the wake of this or any disaster include:
- Make sure the charity is registered with the State Attorney General’s office.
- Check with the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance at Give.org
- Research how the charity uses donations.
- Refrain from providing banking information to unsolicited calls or emails on behalf of a charity.
- Carefully review the charity’s name before making a donation.
Dennis Horton is director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau.