I always look forward to our twice-monthly phone chats with Dennis Horton, Director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), because I learn something new about how to guard against scammers every single time we talk.

I hope you'll join us every other Tuesday morning after our 8:00 newscast, because the info Dennis shares with us during each visit is so valuable. This morning's chat covered topics from the Rockford BBB's 95th anniversary of serving the Rockford area, to how you can be ripped off by online eyeglass/eye exam offers, to phony notifications of a product shipment leading to identification theft.

Dennis first enlightened us to the fact that when you go to an eye doctor for an exam, followed by a prescription for eyeglasses, they must give you a copy of your prescription. Why? Because you're not obligated to have that prescription filled at the same place to that issued it to you. You can have the glasses made right there, or you can choose to go elsewhere, including online, to have the glasses done. Don't settle for being told that you can't have your prescription to take with you.

However, as Dennis warned, going to an online retailer for an exam or to have your glasses made, can be a risky proposition. If they're made by an overseas company, you may run into problems if the glasses are not done correctly. Returns of products to their overseas origination point for replacement is fraught with risks. So are online eye exams, which may not be able to give you the level of detail that you'll get when you have the exam done in an actual eye doctor's office. Keep that in mind before deciding where to buy, and always try to find out as much as you can about companies you may potentially work with.

Dennis then moved on to Package Delivery (or, notification) Scams. While many of us may appreciate the notification on our phone that tells us that a product we ordered has been shipped, is en route, or has been delivered, fake notifications about product shipments is an attempt at stealing your identity. If you find yourself getting a notification of an impending delivery of a product that you know you didn't order, don't click the link that is provided with the notification. That link could load malware onto your phone that you'll have a hard time even knowing is there. If you click the link and follow through with the request for information that will inevitably come, you'll be handing scammers your ID, and they'll certainly make the most of it. If you didn't order it, ignore the fake notification of shipment or delivery.

Here's our interview with the Rockford BBB's Dennis Horton, along with more details on avoiding identity theft:


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