Scam Alerts

Staff Reports

Don’t Say “I Do” To Untrustworthy Wedding Vendors

Columbus, OH — BBB encourages consumers to research any wedding-related business before telling them “I do.”

In 2016, BBB had over 384,000 combined inquiries about wedding related businesses, such as photographers, videographers, wedding planners and more. Over the past year, BBB has handled 5,613 complaints related to wedding businesses. Many of the complaints had to do with delivery, sales, or exchange/refund issues from photographers, videographers or bridal shops.

Since the creation of BBB’s wedding help site, Better Business Bureau has seen many online visitors throughout the year. But with late summer and early fall as the most popular wedding months, couples are often in full-planning mode come January.

When looking for potential vendors or visiting trade shows, BBB has the following tips:

  • Do your research. Check out the business at or do a simple online search to find reviews.
  • Gather trusted recommendations. Ask family or friends with companies they had good experiences with at their weddings. Then, look into the businesses yourself.
  • Before making any purchases, get the company’s refund and exchange policies in writing. Also, obtain their contact information and physical address.
  • Do some comparison shopping before you buy! Be sure that you are getting the best value for you.
  • Ask vendors if any of their sale prices will be honored after the trade show. If so, you may not feel as pressured to buy.

BBB has information on where and how to start planning your special day, along with Accredited Businesses that you can trust to help the process run smoothly, all found at

BBB Warns of a New Scam Targeting Seniors

Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about a new scam is targeting seniors and preying on fears that they could lose Social Security benefits. Seniors are scared into donating to this fake cause and providing their personal information.

How the Scam Works:

You get a letter in the mail. It seems to be from a nonprofit advocacy group and claims that Congress is attempting to abolish Social Security. Fortunately, this group is working to save the benefits. They are allegedly mailing referendum ballots to every senior citizen in the country, allowing them to vote to keep the government program.

To keep up its work, this group needs your donation. A donation of $16.45 will pay to mail “an additional 36 referendums on Social Security to citizens across America who feel the same way as you and me.”

Of course, the donation is a scam. If you send money, you will be out $16.45. Victims who fill out the form to make a credit card donation, open themselves up to ID theft and additional fraudulent charges. As usual, the scam varies slightly in different reports. The name of the advocacy group often changes and so does the exact language used.

How to spot this phishing scam:

  • Be wary if you are being asked to act immediately. Scammers typically try to push you into action before you have had time to think.
  • Don’t share your credit card information. Paying by credit card is typically a great way to protect yourself when purchasing online. But sending your name, address and credit card information to scammers opens yourself up to ID theft and other cons.
  • If it seems too outlandish to be true, it probably is: Many cons snare victims by offering deals too good to be true. But some, like this, scare targets into taking action. Either way, use common sense and a quick web search.
  • Know your government: In the United States, referendums are not held on the national level and differ from state to state. Outside organizations do not pay for referendum ballots to be sent to voters.

For more information, follow your BBB on Facebook, Twitter, and at

About BBB

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at

Staff Reports