Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Flood Damaged Vehicles May Turn Up for Sale

Even living thousands of miles away from areas damaged by Tropical Storm Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, flood damaged vehicles could make way to car dealers in your area.

Once on used-car lots, flood damaged vehicles may be sold at deep discounts relative to the going rates of similar used vehicles. However, this is a time to be wary if buying from sellers not disclosing about a vehicles’ exposure to the storms.

With the vehicle identification number (VIN), shoppers can check the National Insurance Crime Bureau to see if vehicles have been salvaged or stolen.

The risk of buying a flood damaged car should add an additional layer of scrutiny to what always should be a rigorous process. Shoppers need to take extra steps when looking at a car including:

• Check used cars thoroughly for evidence of soot, grime and water damage. After a visual inspection, the car should be taken to a mechanic, who can put the car on a lift and run diagnostics on the electrical system.

• A car that’s been waterlogged can have an unmistakably musty odor similar to a wet basement.

• Start the car, drive it and listen to the engine.

• A potential buyer should put hands over everything, checking for dampness as well as soot or grit.

For more information on finding businesses you can trust, visit www.bbb.org

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Champion Window of Chicago Donates 135,000 Pounds of Food To Close the Window on Hunger

Local Home Improvement Showroom Joined The National Summer Campaign To Shed the Light On Child Hunger and Support The Greater Chicago Food Depository

Champion Window of Chicago donated more than 135,000 pounds of food this summer to help fight child hunger in their community. The donation was part of a company-wide program to raise awareness of hunger in America and increase the amount of food available through local food banks during the summer months when donations typically decline.

“When we learned that nearly 1 in 4 American children are now impacted by food insecurity we decided it was time to do something; that’s why we created our Close the Window on Hunger program,” said Champion Window Chief Executive Officer Denny Manes. “Champion Window of Chicago set the bar by donating 135,000 pounds of food, the highest of Champion’s 84 stores. This significant accomplishment is a testament to the hard work and dedication of each employee in our Chicago showroom.”

Close The Window On Hunger launched on June 1 and provided Champion Window of Chicago, in Elmhurst IIl. and its customers a chance to help fight hunger in their own community. Champion worked with The Greater Chicago Food Depository (http://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/) by donating 50 pounds of food per in-home appointment, and an additional 100 pounds of food for every project order placed by Aug. 31.

“Here in the Chicagoland area, we recognize the importance of being a part of the community we service and giving back on a local level,” said Steve Piwowar, Division Manager, Champion Window in Elmhurst Ill. (http://closethewindowonhunger.com/midwest/stores/chicago/). “We have worked closely with The Greater Chicago Food Depository in this effort to spread the word and fight hunger our own community and we are thrilled with how much food we were able to donate this summer.”

“For too many children, the end of the school year signals the end of a consistent source of breakfast and lunch,” said Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of The Greater Chicago Food Depository. “We’re grateful for the support of Champion Factory Direct during these challenging times.”

To learn more about Champion’s Close the Window on Hunger visit http://www.CloseTheWindowOnHunger.com or contact Champion at 630-279-0909. Champion is located at 549 W. Lake Street in Elmhurst.

Started in 1953, Champion Window, Door and Patio Room Company is one of the nation’s leading home improvement companies. Champion builds and installs vinyl replacement windows, entry doors, patio rooms and siding, with more than 45,000 homeowners joining the ranks of customers on an annual basis. Champion’s energy-efficient products help consumers save money on their utility bills year-round. Champion's control over every aspect of manufacturing, distribution, installation and servicing provides a single source of accountability for its customers, removing all concerns about who is responsible for their home improvement project. The company operates factories in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Denver, Colo. For more information on Champion Window, please visit www.ChampionFactoryDirect.com.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beware of a Bank Card Scam

The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois (BBB) has been alerted of a scam involving an automated system being used to alarm people into believing their Visa or MasterCard has been compromised.

The automated message states:

“Hello, this is a message from XXX Bank, your card has temporarily been suspended because we think it has been accessed by a 3rd party. To reactivate your card, press 1 to be immediately transferred to our security department.”

No bank or financial institution will call and ask you for your bank information, they already have it. If you do receive a call like this, hang up and call your actual bank to verify if there really is anything going on with your debit or credit card.

Banks typically do not use phone recording to contact customers or solicit confidential customer information.

If you have given your personal information out over the phone in relation to this or any other scam, call your bank immediately using the contact information provided on your cards and statements.

For more information about identity theft prevention visit www.bbb.org

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nine Tips for Avoiding Online Rip-offs

1. Know the retailer before providing your credit card information. Visit www.bbb.org to view a company’s Business Review to help ensure safe shopping.

2. Don’t be pressured. Comparison shop so that you know where to find the best price.

3. Review your credit card statement each month. Look for any unauthorized charges and contact your bank or credit card company immediately if you find discrepancies. Consumers can also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org

4. Stop payment on orders that didn’t get delivered. A company must ship mail-ordered merchandise within 30 days from the time it receives your order-unless some other time is stated for shipment. If the company cannot ship within the advertised time then it must notify you and permit you to cancel or agree to the delay.

5. Watch out for “all sales are final” language. Understand the retailer’s return policy before you make a purchase.

6. Do not click on links in emails from strangers. This may be an attempt to steal your personal information.

7. Check for credit card protection. Many credit card companies offer fraud protection that will cover the cost if you report it within a certain timeframe. You may also be able to monitor activity online to help catch anything unusual.

8. Get a new credit card number. Ask your credit card company for a different number that you can use exclusively when online shopping. This may help reduce identity fraud.

9. Change your passwords. Keep track of your passwords in a secure document, and don’t stick with simple passwords that are easily guessed. You should change your passwords regularly.

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