Update Your Software to Help Prevent Ransomware!


Update Your Software to Help Prevent Ransomware!

BBB Tips to Help Protect Your Computer

 

(Lake Havasu City, AZ – May 17, 2017)  A major ransomware attack was unleashed worldwide on Friday, infecting at least 75,000 computers in 99 countries, according to preliminary reports. The ransomware locked computers and networks using file encryption software, and demanded payment by Bitcoin (a non-traceable crypto-currency) to release the data.

 

The attack typically enters through a phishing email and then spreads to other machines on the same network by exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. Although Microsoft discovered the vulnerability and released a patch in March, many computer users do not regularly update their operating systems and may have missed the critical repair.

 

Better Business Bureau joins with the National Cyber Security Alliance in suggesting the following cyber hygiene defenses:

  • Don’t click on links from unfamiliar sources. Even if you think you know the sender, be cautious about clicking on email links. When in doubt, delete it. Be especially wary of messages requiring you to act quickly, asking for personal information, or threatening you in any way.
  • Keep clean machines: Prevent infections by updating critical software as soon as patches or new operating system versions are available. This includes mobile and other internet-connected devices.
  • Use strong authentication, requiring more than a username and password to access accounts, especially critical networks, to prevent access through stolen or hacked credentials. Check out Lock down your login for more information.
  • Conduct regular backups of systems: Systems can be restored in cases of ransomware and having current backup of all data speeds the recovery process.
  • Make better passwords: In cases where passwords are still used, require long, strong and unique passwords to better harden accounts against intrusions.

Businesses need to take special precautions when it comes to protecting their customers’ information. One of the BBB Standards for Trust is:

Safeguard Privacy: Protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of consumers regarding the use of their information.

 

One of the ways businesses can safeguard privacy is by taking BBB’s “Five Steps to Better Business Cybersecurity” (bbb.org/cybersecurity).

 

Consumers can learn more about avoiding scams and fraud at bbb.org/scamtips.

 

BBB.org

Chipotle Fundraiser Friday May 26th!


Make dinner a selfless act by joining us for a fundraiser to support Hospice of Havasu. Come in to the Chipotle at 55 S Lake Havasu Ave Ste M in Lake Havasu City on Friday, May 26th between 4:00pm and 8:00pm. Bring in this flyer, show it on your smartphone or tell the cashier you’re supporting the cause to make sure that 50% of the proceeds will be donated to Hospice of Havasu.

Link to Chipotle Flyer for Friday, May 26th (PDF).

MCSO Press Release: Free Kids Fishing Day!

FREE KIDS FISHING DAY – NORTH OF KINGMAN AT D’AMBRO PONDS

Mohave County Sheriff’s Office along with Arizona Game and Fish will be assisting with this year’s annual Kids Fishing Day at D’Ambro Ponds in Kingman on Saturday, May 27th from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  A lunch and drinks will be provided.  Arizona Game and Fish will supply fishing poles.  The Sheriff’s Posse members will also be assisting.  This family event is free for children between the ages of 5 and 16.  Donations to D’Ambro pond will be greatly appreciated.  D’Ambro pond is located north on Stockton Hill Road at milepost 26.  Please pre-register on Saturday, May 20th from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at the Arizona Game and Fish Office at 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road in Kingman.  Children only may participate in this tournament.

Participants from prior year’s Kids Fishing Day event at D’Ambro Ponds.

BBB Teams with ADT and Trade Associations to Help Consumers Fight Deceptive Door-to-Door Alarm Sales

BBB Teams with ADT and Trade Associations to Help Consumers Fight Deceptive Door-to-Door Alarm Sales

(Lake Havasu City, AZ – May 10, 2017) With thousands of consumers victimized by fraudulent door-to-door home security sales every summer, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is sounding the alarm about deceptive tactics.

Reaching a national audience from Sacramento, BBB, local victims and leaders of two security industry associations, along with ADT – a leading home security company, BBB Accredited Business and National Partner – joined forces May 9 to alert consumers.

“Consumers should feel safe wherever they are,” said Mary E. Power, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “When a con takes advantage of people, literally at their front door, it poses a significant challenge. We appreciate the industry taking a lead on helping BBB address these deceptive sales tactics.”

In 2016, over a half million consumers across North America used BBB resources to research information about home security companies; but thousands also complained about dishonest and misleading sales pitches.

Speaking out yesterday was victim Marie Marshall. The 86-year-old was deceived into switching her ADT service to another company, which the salesman falsely claimed was affiliated with ADT. Marshall is now in a 60-month contract with that company, paying a higher monthly rate.

“By the time I realized I had signed with another company, it was too late,” said Marshall. “I am very disappointed that I got duped into doing business with a company that practices deceptive sales.”

BBB offers the following tips for consumers considering a home security system:

Choose a trustworthy business.

  • Consider your security needs and the specific valuables you want protected.
  • Consider your security requirements and budget.
  • Get recommendations from your homeowners or renters insurance carrier.
  • Always check out businesses at bbb.org.

Contact at least three companies.

  • Make sure they are properly licensed in your area.
  • Ask if they run criminal background checks on employees prior to hiring.
  • Make sure they pledge to uphold industry standards. You can look them up at the Electronic Security Association or the Canadian Security Association.

Ask about all charges up front.

  • Prices vary based on the level of protection and type of technology.
  • Compare bids on similar systems.
  • Factor in the initial installation charge as well as monthly monitoring fees.
  • Talk to your insurance agent to see if the system qualifies for a discount on your homeowner’s premiums.

Know the ins and outs of your contract.

  • Will your alarm system be monitored? By the installing company or a third-party?
  • What is the length of the contract (typically 2-5 years)?
  • What is your recourse if you are not satisfied? Can you cancel the contract?
  • What are your rights if your monitoring company is purchased or acquired by another alarm company?

What happens if you change your mind after the sale? In the United States, the “cooling off” rule is three-days for door-to-door sales.

Here are some “red flags” to watch out for:

  • High pressure sales tactics
  • Deals that sound too good to be true
  • Lack of company identification
  • A poor rating with BBB

“We urge those who are selling security systems to abide by the BBB Standards for Trust,” said Conner. “Tell the truth, honor promises, and embody integrity.”

-BBB.ORG-

For more information or to schedule an interview with a BBB spokesperson, please contact Elaine Cullen at 928-302-3701 or ecullen@arizonabbb.org.

2017 Songwriter’s Festival

Attention All Songwriters, it’s that time again for the Lake Havasu Songwriters Festival. Join us to drive tens of thousands of views to your original work, teaching you how to market yourself, networking with your local songwriters, and supporting music and art programs, all with a chance to win thousands of dollars.

This competition is open to Arizona residents and the deadline to apply is June 1st, that’s June first, so go to ArtsLakeHavasu.com and let’s get your song heard around the world! That’s Arts Lake Havasu dot com and sign up today. Deadline, AGAIN, is June first; so hurry and get signed up today!

Here are some highlights of last years winners!

SONGWRITERS OF THE YEAR:

Last Year’s Winners: Melanie and Virgil Venditto (Courtesy of River Scene Magazine)

SONG OF THE YEAR:

Horizon High School & Mountain Ridge High School Students Receive BBB Ethical Athlete Scholarship


(Lake Havasu City, AZ – April 24, 2017) In partnership with the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), Better Business Bureau serving Central, Northern and Western Arizona (BBB) awards Horizon High School’s June Obata and Mountain Ridge High School’s Saikou Gueye BBB Ethical Athlete scholarship, presented by Isagenix.

In its second year, the BBB Ethical Athlete Scholarship recognizes deserving student athletes across the state for doing the right thing on and off the playing field. Nominated by coaches, teammates, and fans, two student athletes (a male and a female) are selected each month to receive a $1,000 scholarship. At the end of the school year, BBB selects two Ethical Champions to receive an additional $2,500 scholarship.

June Obata is a senior softball player at Horizon High School. She was recognized as a BBB Ethical Athlete April 12, 2017, at BBB’s Torch Awards for Ethics accompanied by Isagenix’s VP of Corporate Affairs Cheryl Lewis and BBB’s President/CEO Matthew Fehling.

“Last year, June endured a personally crushing experience, but now makes herself available to teammates dealing with difficult situations,” said her teacher Dr. Yvonne Perot. “She is known for her unwavering integrity, positive attitude and genuine caring spirit.”

Saikou is a senior basketball player at Mountain Ridge High School. He was recognized as a BBB Ethical Athlete April 19, 2017, joined by Principal Shona Miranda and Athletic Director Junior Michael.

“Saikou was the target of racists taunts during a game and finding himself in a situation no student athlete should endure, he responded by taking the high road, continuing to play and winning the game,” shared his teacher Debbie Moore in her nomination.

BBB has recognized the following students as BBB Ethical Athletes during the 2016-2017 school year:

  • Zachary Patterson from Mohave High School

  • Jacob Adams from Sahuaro High School

  • Whitney Weaver from Mountain View High School

  • Sarah Jane Schott from Prescott High School

  • Charles Walker from Desert Edge High School

  • Bailee Liska from Lake Havasu High School

BBB and AIA review public nominations every month and select ethical athletes to be honored throughout the year. Nominate Arizona high school athletes for the BBB Ethical Athlete Scholarship, presented by Isagenix at athlete.arizonabbb.org.  

ATHLETE.ARIZONABBB.ORG

For more information or to schedule an interview with a BBB spokesperson, please contact Elaine Cullen at 928-302-3701 or ecullen@arizonabbb.org.

 

Lake Havasu City, Arizona Wins $2 Million for Revitalization in “America’s Best Communities” Competition

Lake Havasu City, Arizona Wins $2 Million for Revitalization in “America’s Best Communities” Competition

 

Lake Havasu City brings home one of the grand prizes, secures a top spot in three-year competition

 

Sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank and The Weather Channel, $10 million program inspires revitalization in Rural America

 

DENVER, Colo.; April 19, 2017—Lake Havasu City, Arizona has won $2 million as one of the top finishers in the America’s Best Communities competition, a $10 million community revitalization campaign sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank and The Weather Channel.

 

Launched in September 2014 to inspire revitalization and growth in small towns and rural communities across the country, America’s Best Communities challenged local leaders to bring their neighbors together to envision a stronger future and build a strategy to improve lives and livelihoods. It has served as a catalyst for positive change by awarding seed funding to help communities turn their exceptional ideas from vision to reality.

 

About 350 communities entered the competition. The field was narrowed to 50 in the quarterfinals, 15 in the semifinals and down eight finalists. Communities advanced in the competition based on the effectiveness of the revitalization plans developed, fine-tuned and implemented over the course of the three-year competition.

 

The eight finalists gathered this week in Denver, Colorado, the home of sponsoring companies DISH Network and CoBank, to present their revitalization strategies and share progress made in achieving new growth. Following the presentations, the top three were announced during the America’s Best Communities Grand Prize Ceremony.

 

With its $2 million prize, Lake Havasu City will accelerate its Vision 20/20 plan, which focuses on five pillars: economic development and job creation, education and workforce talent, tourism and place development, water preservation and management, and community engagement. Combined, these strategic initiatives are designed to jumpstart economic growth.

 

“When we launched America’s Best Communities, we hoped to inspire revitalization in small towns and cities across rural America. As we celebrate the culmination of the campaign, it feels like a dream fulfilled,” said Maggie Wilderotter, former CEO of Frontier Communications. “After three years of hard work, and from a pool of about 350 communities, Lake Havasu City has earned the $2 million prize and one of the top spots in America’s Best Communities — and we’re thrilled to extend our congratulations. With hard work and determination, they have forever changed the trajectory of their communities. The America’s Best Communities prize grants they’ve secured will help them continue on the path to prosperity.”

 

“From our start in rural Colorado to our growth across the country, DISH has maintained its deep connections to America’s small towns, and we’ve been proud to be a part of this effort to inspire innovation in rural communities,” said DISH Chairman and CEO Charlie Ergen. “With all that these communities have achieved over the last three years, we hope each community’s story and revitalization strategy will serve as inspiration for other rural places that hope to pursue their own positive change.”

 

“These communities have developed innovative ideas that can be emulated in other rural areas to jumpstart growth, jobs and economic resurgence,” said Robert B. Engel, retired CEO and Senior Advisor, CoBank. “As a financial institution dedicated to supporting America’s rural economy, we commend all the ABC participants for the enormous efforts they have made and the leadership they have shown in bringing their vision for a better future to reality.”

 

“In covering major weather events across the nation, The Weather Channel has told memorable, compelling stories; often about small, rural towns which are often impacted the most by weather.  We are inspired by revival stories of the small towns and cities that competed in America’s Best Communities,” said Dave Shull, CEO of The Weather Channel. “They’ve faced tough times, but they refused to give in. They saw an opportunity to improve their community, and they worked hard to make it happen. Congratulations to all of the communities that entered this competition.”

 

“When I’m on tour, I travel across America’s heartland. I’ve visited some of the hardest-hit small towns, and I’ve gotten to know the people who call those places home,” said Vince Gill, ambassador for the competition and country music legend. “They’re hardworking, resilient people, and America’s Best Communities has proven that when opportunity presents itself, rural communities will rise to the challenge and find innovative ways to create a better future for themselves and their neighbors.”

 

During each phase of America’s Best Communities, the best strategies — those with the most innovative ideas being effectively deployed — were advanced to the next round and awarded funding to accelerate implementation. In April 2015, 50 quarterfinalists were awarded $50,000 each. Then, from the field of 15 semifinalists, eight finalist communities were presented with $100,000 prize grants, with the remaining seven receiving $25,000 to initiate their plans.

 

Throughout the competition, from its start through the grand prize round, an independent panel of judges reviewed and scored communities’ proposals based on an objective set of criteria to select winners.

 

The eight finalist communities that gathered in Denver included:

  • •Chisago Lakes Area, Minnesota
  • •Darrington/Arlington, Washington
  • •Huntington, West Virginia
  • •Lake Havasu City, Arizona
  • •Madison, Indiana
  • •Statesboro, Georgia
  • •Tualatin, Oregon
  • •Valley County, Idaho

 

By crowdsourcing new ideas to revitalize rural America, the campaign has helped identify innovative solutions that can serve as roadmaps to economic revival for other small and medium-sized communities across the U.S. The competition’s organizers are encouraging local leaders across the country to view the communities’ revitalization plans, which are available publicly at the America’s Best Communities website.

 

For more on the competition, visit www.americasbestcommunities.com.


Photos



BBB Warning: IRS May Call You After All


BBB Warning: IRS May Call You After All

Some Taxpayer Debts Assigned to Private Collection Agencies

(Lake Havasu City, AZ – April 20, 2017) The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has changed the way it deals with overdue taxes, and that means third party collection agencies may now call.

Like the IRS, Better Business Bureau (BBB) is concerned this change might lead to scammers trying new ways to trick people. Here is what you need to know about the program that started in April 2017.

A federal law signed in 2015 allows four contractors to collect unpaid tax debts for the government. According to the IRS, these are unpaid tax debts that were assessed several years ago and which the agency is no longer trying to collect directly.

The four companies contracted by the IRS are BBB Accredited Businesses:

The C B E Group, Inc.

1309 Technology Pkwy

Cedar Falls, IA 50613

ConServe

200 CrossKeys Office park

Fairport, NY 14450

Performant

333 N Canyons Pkwy

Livermore, CA 94551

Pioneer Credit Recovery, Inc.

325 Daniel Zenker Dr

Horseheads, NY 14845

There are many ways to tell whether a call about tax debt is legitimate. According to the IRS, people with overdue taxes will receive multiple notifications, including letters and phone calls, from the IRS first. The IRS will also notify taxpayers before sending accounts to a private collection agency.

Here’s how it will work and how you can tell the difference between a legitimate debt collector and a scammer:

  • The IRS and the private debt collection company will both send a letter to the taxpayer first. If you get a call first and had no idea you owed taxes, be cautious. NOTE: Taxpayers who have recently moved may have missed notification letters, which can lead to confusion if their first contact is from the collection agency. Taxpayers can use Form 8822 to update the IRS with a new address at www.irs.gov/uac/form-8822-change-of-address.
  • Private debt collectors will be able to identify themselves as contractors of the IRS collecting taxes. These employees must comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and, like IRS employees, must be courteous and respect taxpayers’ rights. If the caller yells, curses, or threatens arrest, it is not a legitimate collector. Hang up.
  • Private debt collectors will not ask for, and cannot accept, credit card information over the phone. Consumers will pay the IRS directly and will not need to send any money to the private debt collection company. Learn about payment options at www.irs.gov/payments. You can also see your balance and payment history online. If the caller asks you to pay them directly, and especially if they ask for an unusual form of payment, such as wire transfer or gift card, it’s a scam. Hang up!
  • Taxpayers can ask for their account to be transferred from the private debt collection back to the IRS.

The IRS adds that private collection firms will only be calling about longstanding tax debts notified about previously. Taxpayers can check whether they have unpaid tax debt atwww.irs.gov/balancedue.

BBB reminds consumers, particularly those who have outstanding tax debts, that the IRS will explain the new process clearly and will make every attempt to work with them to set up payment plans. The IRS will also give taxpayers the chance to question or appeal the amount owed.

For more information and updates, visit www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/private-debt-collection.

Five Companies Win 2017 BBB Torch Awards for Ethics


Five Companies Win 2017 BBB Torch Awards for Ethics

BBB Luminary Award Recognizes Retired CEO Susan Frank

(Lake Havasu City, AZ – April 13, 2017) Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Arizona (BBB) awarded five companies with a 2017 BBB Torch Awards for Ethics last night during its 16th annual dinner sponsored by Desert Schools Federal Credit Union. BBB also presented its Luminary Award to one of the first women in the country to lead a credit union with one billion in assets.

The BBB Torch Awards for Ethics recognize firms whose business practices and related activities exemplify BBB’s mission and principles to ensure the marketplace remains fair and honorable.

2017 Winners Revealed

1.     Loud Rumor – a marketing company for fitness studios and gyms located in Scottsdale with a mission to help 100,000 people start a healthy lifestyle.  Loud Rumor is the category one winner with 1-10 employees.

More: loudrumor.com

2.     Champs Family Automotive – a neighborhood automotive and diesel specialist in Goodyear that strives to bring customers the very best every time.  Champs Family Automotive is the category two winner with 11-20 employees.  

More: champsfamilyautomotive.com

3.     Lucid Agency – a digital marketing agency in Tempe that solves complex business problems through the use of technology and interactive marketing strategy. Lucid Agency is the category three winner with 21-50 employees.

More: lucidagency.com

4.     Howard Air – a family owned and operated heating and air conditioning business in Phoenix that stays on the cutting edge of technology.  Howard Air is the category four winner with 51-150 employees.

More: howardair.com

5.     WebPT – a Phoenix based, leading rehab therapy platform for enhancing patient care while fueling business growth. WebPT is a category five winner with over 150 employees.

More: webpt.com

“These winners join a community of trustworthy businesses that understand how important trust, transparency and integrity are to business success,” said Matthew Fehling, BBB President/CEO.

BBB also honored these 10 finalists for their dedication to ethical practices:

1.     Larson Air Conditioning (Scottsdale)

2.     Southwest Services Company (Phoenix)

3.     Benefit Logic, Inc. (Flagstaff)

4.     Spa Lamar (Scottsdale)

5.     Arizona Foundation Solutions, LLC (Phoenix)

6.     Two Men And A Truck (Scottsdale)

7.     Arrowhead Honda (Peoria)

8.     Dircks Moving & Logistics (Phoenix)

9.     American Vision Windows (Mesa)

10.  George Brazil Air Conditioning & Heating (Phoenix)

Additionally, BBB honored its 2017 Luminary Award recipient Susan Frank who is a former BBB board director and recently retired as CEO of Desert Schools Federal Credit Union. The award honors an Arizona leader for positively impacting the community while embodying the spirit of BBB.

Another highlight of the night included an inspiring keynote address from Anthony Robles, 2011 NCAA Champion and author of Unstoppable: From Underdog to Undefeated: How I Became a Champion. Robles’ incredible story of perseverance and determination as a one-legged wrestler highlighted how qualities key in athletics also play an important role in business.

Desert Schools Federal Credit Union served as presenting sponsor for the first year and surprised attendees with a Prosperity Bowl centerpiece created by local artist Trisha Burrough. Radio and television personality Pat McMahon, along with media personality Catherine Anaya, served as masters of ceremonies.

For more information on the winners and finalists of the 16th annual BBB Torch Awards for Ethics, visit torchawards.arizonabbb.org.

-TORCHAWARDS.ARIZONABBB.ORG-

Sam’s Spring Clean-Up

You know Good Ole Sam has best dang-gum prices on firearms, ammunition and accessories there is! So why has Sam gone plumb-loco on his Spring Clean-Up sale? When the wife tells you to clean up there’s nothing more to say.

Save ten percent off everything in the store, excluding consignments and red tagged items. Glock pistols are five percent off during Sam’s Spring Clean- Up Sale at Sam’s Shooters Emporium. Make sure you use the code word “BOBBY BUNNY” and save today at Sam’s Shooters Emporium