The end of summer is almost here! As we look forward to cooler and likely wetter weather in the Four States, it’s also a time when home repair contractors drive through neighborhoods looking to make a quick buck on either unnecessary or overpriced repairs. One such scam is contractors approaching homeowners asking them if they would like their driveway asphalt redone. Don O’Brien of the Better Business Bureau says that a better idea is to get bids from multiple contractors so that you have an idea of what the job should cost and if there are any variables you should be considering.
The used and new car market has been tight for a couple of years due to ongoing supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inventories at dealerships, large and small, have been reduced causing the price of cars to skyrocket. Everything from internal combustion engines, hybrids, and electric vehicles have been affected. This has forced many consumers to turn to websites like Facebook Marketplace and Craiglist to stretch their car buying dollars or locate a model that is hard to find. Don and I spoke about best practices and what to watch out for if you are considering purchasing an automobile from a website that has little to no oversight of what is sold on it.
The market for houses and apartments, whether in the Four States or nationally, remains tight also. The BBB warns that scammers are posting rentals advertisements on legitimate websites such as Rent.com and Apartments.com. On numerous occasions, the consumers have reported to the Better Business Bureau that the person renting the house or apartment doesn’t live in the area and wants to do all of the communication about the rental and payment over text and apps like Venmo and CashApp. According to Don, it’s best to see the rental in person and meet the person renting it. Or preferably, work with a trusted, local realtor who can meet you and provide an opinion on their cost.
Spoofing is not new. Whether through texts or phone calls, millions of Americans every day receive them from unknown numbers or scammers trying to make it appear that they are a company. That includes spoof calls that make it appear the Better Business Bureau is calling when they are not. According to Don O’Brien of the BBB, one interesting wrinkle in spoof calls and texts is that spoofers use different means and scripts for different types of services and companies.
According to a recent report on bestcolleges.com, roughly 20 million college freshmen will enroll at colleges and universities this fall, and credit card companies are watching. For many of these students, it’s the first time they’ll be living on their own and having to manage their finances. A staple of college bulletin boards that line the halls on campuses are ads for credit cards targeted at first-year students. Banks and credit card companies also set up booths for events that were held within the first month of the new semester. Don of the Better Business Bureau warns parents and students that these credit cards often have high-interest rates. There have also been credit card scams reported on campuses where the card doesn’t exist. Still, once you have filled out the application, the scammers now have your personal information.
With the rise and prominence of e-commerce over the past 10-15 years and what seems like an unlimited number of big box retailers, regional and national, downtown areas large and small have fallen on hard times. Especially in the Midwest, where the construction of a Walmart near an interstate or major highway draws money, consumers, and even other retailers away from the center of town, leaving countless downtown store fronts empty.
One success story is in Joplin, Missouri, where the Downtown Joplin Alliance has worked for over 30 years, advocating for downtown retailers, artists, and housing, and the preservation of historic buildings that help tell the story of a different time in the community’s history.
Earlier this month, the DJA earned two awards from the Missouri Main Street Connection, a non-profit dedicated to the preservation-based economic development of downtowns. DJA won Best Historic Preservation Project for their Endangered Properties Program and Outstanding Development Project for the Willard Hotel, owned by Jeremy and Lori Haun.
This week KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro spoke with Lori Haun, Executive Director of the DJA, about winning the awards, in addition to what projects the non-profit is currently working on and about some of the future challenges for downtown Joplin.
To conclude this week’s episode of KRPS Presents, Fletcher Powell reviewed a new movie that tells the story of a father, a son, and a catfish.