Join Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York for Secure Your ID Day 2017!

BBB Secure Your ID Day October 7, 2017

In 2016, 15.4 million Americans reported they were a victim of identity fraud, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. We know it only takes one misplaced personal document to give someone everything needed to steal your identity. BBBs across North America participate in this event each year to help eliminate these potentially damaging documents.

To help combat ID theft and educate the public on best practices to secure personal information, Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York partners with Shred-it, Tops Friendly Markets, AT&T, Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce, West Seneca Chamber of Commerce and Greater Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce to offer free document shredding in the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse areas October 7, 2017. The event is from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the following Tops locations:

Buffalo Area:
355 Orchard Park Road, West Seneca, New York 14224
3865 Union Road, Cheektowaga, New York 14225

Rochester Area:
3507 Mt. Read Blvd, Greece, New York 14616

Syracuse Area:
2265 Downer Street, Baldwinsville, New York 13027

BBB Secure Your ID Day 2017 | Paper Shredding

We invite everyone to bring up to three bags or boxes of old files and papers for on-site shredding. Volunteers from the partnering organizations will be on hand to assist and distribute safety tips.

BBB offers the following tips to protect your identity:

  • Check your credit reports regularly. You’re allowed one free credit report per year from each of the

three credit bureaus at

  • Monitor account statements to be sure you were the source for all activity.
  • Shred credit card applications and statements before throwing them away.
  • Never give out personal information.
  • Look for secured websites. Make sure the website has a locked pad icon and “https” in the URL.
  • Protect your PINs and other passwords and change them regularly.
  • Cut up credit cards before pitching them and limit the amount of cards you carry.
  • Consider opting out of pre-approved credit card offers, which can be stolen from your mailbox by

identity thieves.

  • Update your computer with the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
  • Sign up for the Do Not Call List at

For more information, please contact us at 800-828-5000.


National Grandparents Day is a great time to talk about scams

Sunday, September 10th is National Grandparents Day which is a great time to talk to the seniors in your life about scams.

Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York works every day to inform the public about scams that target seniors, including the “Grandparent Scam.” It’s designed to fool seniors into thinking that their grandchild is hurt, arrested, or stranded and in need of money.

What is the Grandparents Scam?
Family emergency scams can happen to anyone because scammers are good at making up an urgent situation: “I’ve been arrested,” “I’ve been mugged,” “I’m in the hospital” — and target friends and family with pleas for help…and money. Oftentimes, scammers gear their pitch towards unsuspecting seniors with a plea that appears to be coming from their grandchild.

Do not reveal any information to scammers.

Why are seniors targets?
BBB says there are several reasons, including:
  • They are more likely to be at home to answer the phone or door,
  • They tend to be more trusting of others,
  • Some are lonely or susceptible to a friendly pitch, or
  • They may need the help being offered and just want to get a job done as quickly as possible – skipping necessary research.
BBB offers these steps that families can take to avoid scams:

Know the red flags. Typically, the grandparent receives a frantic phone call from a scammer posing as their grandchild. The “grandchild” explains that he or she is in trouble and needs help. The “grandchild” pleads to the grandparents not to tell his or her parents and asks that they send money to post bail, repair a car, cover lawyer’s fees, or even to pay hospital bills for a person the grandchild has supposedly injured in a car crash.

Stay calm. Emergency scams count on an emotional reaction. It’s important to resist the pressure to act quickly or react to a caller’s distress. Tell them you’ll call back and ask for a number. If the call involves a grandchild – contact your grandchild or another family member to determine whether or not the call is legitimate, and confirm the whereabouts of the grandchild.
Don’t disclose too much information. BBB advises everyone not to reveal any personal identifying information to solicitors. Scammers like to say, “It’s me, Grandma,” hoping to get a name out of the person. Don’t respond with a name, but let the caller explain who they are. People should also not share too much travel information on social media.
Avoid phone and email schemes. Let seniors know about phishing scams including calls or email solicitations claiming great deals or sob stories that need immediate action. Never respond at that moment, instead, take the information and check out the claims. Never give away personal or financial information to anyone without verifying you are dealing with a legitimate company.
Create a family code. One easy way to communicate and confirm someone’s identity is to have a code word. You ask a simple question that the family member would know such as the name of a cousin or pet. Be careful not to ask something identifiable via a social media profile (such as the name of the grandchild’s school).
Share information. Families should provide cell phone numbers and email addresses of friends they are traveling with in the case of an emergency, and family members should be cautious when sharing details about travel plans on social media.

Be careful at the front door. Scammers can spot exterior home repairs from the street. These repairs can be risky business if your senior family member doesn’t know or trust the contractor or business, so always check with BBB for a contractor’s BBB Business Profile.


Fake BBB Complaint Email Phishing Scam

Better Business Bureau’s name and logo are being used in an email phishing scam.

The fraudulent emails appear to be a notice of a complaint from BBB, but contain links to malware. These emails are phishing scams targeting businesses. If you receive one of these, do not click any of the links. Contact Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York directly at 800-828-5000 to confirm the legitimacy of the complaint. Also, report the email to BBB’s Scam Tracker.


More information is available by clicking here.


Keeping your children safe online this summer

BBB tips for online safety

family internet safety

Summer is here and kids are off from school, which could mean more time spent online. It is more important than ever to take steps to make sure your kids and your family’s personal information are kept safe. Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York has tips and information to keep your family safe online this summer.

Online threats include cyberbullying, cyber predators, oversharing of information, scams, and malware or other data breaches.

“Parents protect their children from all types of real world threats, so it is important to protect them online as well,” said Warren Clark, BBB of Upstate New York president. “Parents should be aware of who their children are communicating with and what is being said. We hear so many times parents are shocked finding their child is communicating very differently online than they would have expected.”

BBB offers a family internet safety checklist to keep your family’s private information safe:

  • Talk to your kids. Have conversations about practicing online safety. Don’t wait for your kids to come to you, use everyday opportunities to talk about it.
  • Set family rules. Communicate your expectations and keep track of your kid’s passwords. Set clear online behavior expectations for your kids and explain how they apply in an online context. For example, be specific about what is off limits and what you consider inappropriate behavior.
  • Monitor their social media presence. Parents should know where their kids have accounts or profiles and what information they are sharing. Creating their accounts for them can help parents maintain better control.It’s important to verify app and game privacy policies and opt out options. Make sure apps are downloaded from reliable sources.
  • Check privacy settings and consider parental controls. Regularly review the privacy and security policies on the websites your children frequent. Websites change default privacy settings from time to time – and parents will want to know who can see a social media profile, as well as what information might be shared with marketers or strangers. Consider parental controls such as time limits and controls that limit what content is accessible.
  • Review common online scam red flags. Make sure your kids know not to click on unsolicited links that appear on their screens or in emails, or social media offers that sound too good to be true. If they are not sure, make sure they ask an adult. Often times, infected emails will appear to be from someone you or they know. If this is the case, it’s best to email or call the person to see if they meant to send you the message.



More resources on internet safety for your family can be found at



BBB helps keep seniors informed at scam seminar

Tips for avoiding phone, internet and door-to-door scams were presented at the Guilderland Public Library Friday June 9.

Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York, New York State Senator George Amedore, AT&T and the library worked together to keep seniors informed of common scams that target them. “Education is key,” said Warren Clark, president and CEO of BBB. “The more information we can get to you, knowing what to look for and what not do, the better.”
Clark discussed phone scams, fraudulent emails social media posts, door-to-door shams and other common scams.
Seniors are often targeted because they tend to be trusting, unable to complete home improvement projects on their own and are susceptible to a friendly pitch, Clark said.

Seniors scams upstate new york

From left to right: BBB of Upstate New York President and CEO Warren Clark, New York State Senator George Amedore, AT&T Director of External Affairs Ed Bergstraesser, and Guilderland Public Library Director Tim Wiles pose for a photo before the a senior scam prevention seminar June 9.

BBB advice for avoiding scams:

• Never pay the entire cost of a job up front. A small down payment is understandable, but you should never have to pay the full price before any work is done.
• Read contracts thoroughly, show it to someone you trust and ask questions! Make sure you get what is promised in writing.
• Never give banking information, account numbers or your Social Security number over the phone. Your bank or credit company will have that information.
• Beware of high-pressure sales tactics.
• Never give out personal information.
• Don’t click on unsolicited links.
• Keep all virus protection software updated. New threats are constantly popping up. Virus protection companies often provide updates to their software to address any vulnerabilities.
• Check out companies on Get information on BBB ratings, customer reviews and how any complaints were handled.

If you do experience an attempted scam, be sure to report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker.

Those who attended asked questions and commented after the presentation, sharing their personal experiences and what they should do in specific situations.

Caregivers, friends and family members play an important role

Caregivers and family can take the following steps to help spot potential scams:
• Check on seniors often
• Ask about their activities
• Look for unusual withdrawals or charges in accounts
• Other signs of trouble include:
-Excessive knickknacks or prizes
-Couriers rather than the Postal Service
-Frequent calls from a “nice” man or lady

Useful Links:

Do Not Call Registry:
Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York:
Scam Tracker:
Federal Trade Commission:

Preventing senior scams in New York State

Clark discussed the recent “Can You Hear Me” phone scam.


NYS Senior scams

Seniors line up to register for the event.


Text scammers are at it again! Protect yourself with BBB information

Text scammers are at it again, this time, the target is KeyBank customers in Upstate New York.

Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York is again getting reports to our Scam Tracker about spam text messages, saying there is a problem with the user’s KeyBank account and that they need to call the number in the message.

BBB worked with Cody Holyoke from 6 News in Albany to warn the public of the scam.

Photo courtesy of


The same scam was going on in Rochester this time last year.

BBB reminds everyone to know the signs of a phishing scam:

  • If you get a text message, take a minute to do a little research.
  • Check the name of the bank. Do you have an account with that bank?
  • Verify the phone number. Is that really the bank’s number? The best way to find out is to check the back of a credit or debit card for a customer service number. If you are concerned, call that number first, not the number in the message.
  • Don’t click on a link. If the text message contains a link, do not click, it could contain malware.

KeyBank offers the following information for its customers:

  • Clients who provided card numbers or personal information should check their accounts and report any authorized transactions by contacting the KeyBank Fraud & Disputes Hotline, 1-800-433-0124.
  • For more information, visit KeyBank’s Privacy and Security page,

For more on avoiding phishing scams, visit


Marshall Exteriors named winner of BBB’s Torch Award

 Marshall Exteriors, based in Newark, NY is one of this year’s Torch Award recipients.
The Torch Award is the highest recognition given to area businesses by BBB.

Adam Olschewske opened Marshall Exteriors in 2000 with one employee, himself. Over the past 17 years, Olschewske grew the company from the trunk of his car to a 12,500 SQ. ft. facility in Newark. “Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that it would grow from the trunk of my car with 2 bloody thumbs and a hammer to accepting this honor from BBB,” said Olschewske.

Marshall Exteriors owner Adam Olschewske (left) accepts the Torch Award for Ethics from BBB President Warren Clark.

“BBB is proud to honor Adam and Marshall Exteriors with the 2017 Torch Award for Ethics,” said Warren Clark, president and CEO. “Marshall Exteriors was selected by an independent panel of judges based on an extensive application process. Marshall Exteriors exemplifies what BBB stands for: Ethics and trustworthiness in the marketplace.”

BBB’s Torch Award for Ethics seeks to elevate and celebrate the commitment made by for-profit and nonprofit enterprises to the highest standards of leadership character and organizational ethics. The award spotlights the practices of companies that generate a high level of trust among their employees, customers, and their communities. An independent judging committee reviewed each application received by BBB and scored each business to identify the winners.


ConServe named a winner of BBB’s 2017 Torch Award

ConServe, a Fairport-based accounts receivable management company is the winner of the Better Business Bureau’s 2017 Torch Award for Ethics in the large business category.

About the Torch Award

Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York’s Torch Award for Ethics celebrates companies that make the commitment to the highest standards of leadership, character, and ethics. The award spotlights organizations that generate a high level of trust among their employees, customers, and their communities.

BBB staff and President Warren Clark traveled to Fairport to meet with ConServe CEO Mark Davitt, Rochester Chamber of Commerce President Bob Duffy and the entire ConServe team to present the award.

“BBB is proud to honor ConServe with the 2017 Torch Award for Ethics,” said Warren Clark, president and CEO of BBB of Upstate New York. “ConServe was selected by an independent panel of judges based on an extensive application process. ConServe exemplifies what BBB stands for: Ethics and trustworthiness in the marketplace.”

About ConServe
ConServe is a top-performing award-winning provider of accounts receivable management services specializing in customized recovery solutions for our Clients. Anchored with ethics and compliance, and steadfast in our pursuit of excellence, we are a consumer-centric organization that operates as an extension of our Client’s valued brand.  For over 30 years, we have partnered with our Clients to give them peace of mind while simultaneously helping them achieve their goals. Ethics. Technology. Performance.


Cyber Security in the Workplace

If your business experienced a cyber security threat or a data breach, would you know what to do?

Join Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York, AT&T, ASIS, U.S Attorney’s Office, Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation, Hilbert College, Lawley, Crime Stoppers, and Lincoln Archives for “Cyber Security in the Workplace” May 17, 2017 at Hilbert College in Hamburg, New York, 8 a.m.-noon.

This event will feature experts speaking on how to protect your business, cyber security insurance, electronic file destruction, and more.

Businesses large and small can be targeted in these attacks. Find out how to protect yourself and know the warning signs. Don’t miss this important event!

Cyber security event Buffalo NY

Join us May 17, 2017 8 a.m.-noon at:

Hilbert College
Bogel Hall, Room 101
5200 South Park Ave.
Hamburg, NY 14075

Register for “Cyber Security in the Workplace.”

Or view the event flier.


BBB at the Greater Olean Home Show

Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York attended our last home show of the season in Olean April 7. It was wonderful to meet with some businesses we haven’t seen before and present them with plaques. We were proud to sponsor the show and promote the Accredited Businesses there.

Thank you to our Accredited Businesses for you support at the show.

Braymiller Builders

Cellino Plumbing

Cutco Ka-Bar Visitors Center

Dr. Green Lawn/Custom Turf

Enchanted Mountain Drafting


LeafFilter North of New York

Maple Leaf Contracting

Twin Tiers Contracting

Whistle Stop Feed Shop