Often at this time, we wonder how we arrived at the end of another year so quickly. It seems like yesterday we were entering 2021 and – just like that – we are once again watching the calendar turn the page to a brand new year.
I have had the pleasure of writing articles for the South Bend Tribune since becoming CEO in 2014. A huge thank you to SBT staff for giving BBB the opportunity to inform readers of scams proliferating and impart to them the tips to fend off this ever-growing problem. They have always been great people to work with and I will miss them.
Effective Dec. 31, I will be leaving BBB as CEO as I head into retirement, or as I like to call it, a “world full of new and yet-to-be-discovered adventures.”
I can proudly say that although I am departing BBB, I will leave knowing that our staff and community will be in excellent hands. Rick Walz, who has been my steadfast right-hand person as Chief Operations Officer, will be assuming the title of Chief Executive Officer, effective Jan. 1.
Rick has been with BBB for five years and has made numerous contributions both internally and externally during his tenure. He will step into the role flawlessly. I leave BBB with the confidence that all is well and will continue to thrive under Rick’s very capable leadership.
Rick will continue bringing you more tips and tools to protect you and your loved ones from becoming the target of unscrupulous individuals. So stay tuned!
I would not be ending my last column well if I did not give a few tips upon my departure, so here are a few to remember:
• Put a credit or security freeze on your credit reports (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion).
• Check your children’s credit reports periodically to make sure they are not being tampered with.
• Do your research before buying.
• Resist the urge to act immediately. Take your time.
• Don’t fall for advertisements that offer popular products for cheap.
• Watch what you are posting on social media sites.
• Destroy (shred!) important papers.
• Block any calls or text messages you are unfamiliar with. Don’t pick up the phone if you don’t know who it is!
• Don’t click on links you receive from someone you do not know.
• Read the fine print.
• Never, ever send money to someone you don’t know, no matter how convincing they are.
• If you need help, call a trusted friend or family member to assist you.
One final tip(s): When 2022 arrives, go into it with renewed hope. Be kind. We don’t know what the other person is going through. Be patient. Thank people who are working to make a living. They are often doing the work of two or three people. Remain optimistic. Through it all, we will make it through!
Happy New Year!
Marjorie Stephens is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Northern Indiana. Contact the BBB at 800-552-4631 or visit www.bbb.org.