February Scam Wrap-Up

Top Scams 2015

By Veronica Craker, Content and Communications Director

The following are scams that were reported to Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest in February. In most instances names and locations have been omitted to protect the victims’ privacy.

ALASKA 

This month there were 13 scams reported in Alaska with an estimated $1,300 lost.

Inheritance Scam 

An Anchorage woman reported she lost $1,200 in a fake inheritance scam. The woman reports she was contacted by the email alansotosotos@gmail.com letting her know a relative had passed away and left their estate to her. But in order to obtain the inheritance she needed to send money totaling $1,200 via MoneyGram to three separate people for legal fees and a death certificate. She was also convinced to send a copy of her 2015 income tax return.

Publisher’s Clearing House Scam

An Anchorage man reports he was targeted by a Publisher’s Clearing House scam. The man reports he was told he had won $250,000 six years ago, and the deadline to collect was expiring. The man was told to pay a $250 filing fee and the check would be delivered to his house. The man did not pay the fee.

IDAHO

This month there were 109 scams reported in Idaho with an estimated $2,400 lost.

Lottery Winner Scam

A Homedale woman reports she lost $1,700 to a lottery scam. The woman reports she was told she won $3.5 million and a new car. She was instructed to send two money orders to a woman in Florida and a man in Utah. After sending to money orders, one for $699 and another for $1,099 the Post Office stopped her from sending anything else. She soon realized it was not legitimate.

Tax Collection scam

A Nampa woman reported she was the target of a tax collection scam. The woman reports she received a recorded message saying she owed money to the IRS. These types of scams increase during tax season.

MONTANA

This month there were 26 scams reported in Montana with an estimated $950 lost.

Fake puppy website

A Hamilton man reports he lost $700 when he tried to purchase a puppy online. The man states he tried to purchase a puppy from Jiminies Shetland Sheepdog Kennels. He paid $700 via MoneyGram for the dog. Then he was told he needed to pay an additional $1,200 for insurance. The Hamilton man contacted local law enforcement and has not sent any additional money.

Advance Loan Scam

A Missoula woman reports she lost more than $200 when she tried to get a payday advance loan from 60mincash.com. She reports, she paid $200, but never received her loan. Now she is being contacted for more money to pay back the loan she never received.

OREGON

This month there were 100 scams reported in Oregon with an estimated $200 lost.

Fake Invoice Scam

A Portland woman reported she lost $45 in a fake invoice scam. The woman reports her office received hard-copy invoices to renew multiple domains expiring in the upcoming months. The invoice states: “This notice is not a bill, it is rather an easy means of payment should you decide to switch your domain name registration to Internet Domain Name Services.” One of the invoices was paid before the mistake was discovered.

Utility Scam

A Portland woman reported they were the target of a solar power program scam. The woman reports they received a pre-recorded call asking them if they were interested in reducing their energy bill by 14 percent. She clicked “1” for “yes” and then spoke with a man who requested personal information for billing. The woman asked what company this was and was told “Community services” and then “Solar Power Program.” When she pushed the caller with more questions they became angry with her and hung up on her.

WASHINGTON

This month there were 246 scams reported in Washington with an estimated $4,650 lost.

Can You Hear Me Now? 

A Seattle man reported he lost $100 to the “Can You Hear Me Now?” phishing scam. The man reports his wife received a call and since she doesn’t speak English he answered the phone for her. He reports the caller said they were adjusting their headset and asked him if he could hear her. The man checked his credit card statement the next day and found an unauthorized transaction for $100.79 for a California hotel.

Online Purchase Scam

An Auburn woman reported she lost $559.45 in an online purchase scam. The woman reports she purchased medical products through www.evamedicals.com. She was unable to pay for the order online, but was sent an email from the company requesting she make a payment via Western Union or MoneyGram. The woman sent the payment, but never received her products. She tried calling the number listed, but it was not working.

 

Google’s “Mobilegeddon” and What it Means for Your Website

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Written by Jordan Stambaugh, Owner of Stambaugh Designs 

Google recently updated their search algorithm to include one important new metric – mobile devices. It was rumored that an update was coming that would totally change the online search landscape and the rumors were right.

What are the risks of not having a mobile friendly website?

Google’s search algorithm looks at over 200 factors when choosing which website to rank over another. Now one of those factors, and arguably the most important variable, is mobile-friendliness. Before the search algorithm update in 2015, all websites were created equal – a mobile-friendly website was not favored over one that was not.

This is no longer the case.

If your tree service website is not optimized for mobile devices then you run the risk of not showing up in search results when people search for your “Tree Service + Your City” on their mobile devices.

Many businesses are starting to realize the importance of ranking well on Google. If you don’t show up on the first page of Google, you’re practically invisible.

What makes a website mobile friendly? 

A mobile friendly website is a website that responds to the size of the user’s screen. There’s a Bellingham, Washington tree service website that is mobile friendly. The navigation, text and images all respond nicely to the size of the user’s screen.

You can test if your website is mobile friendly by using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool.

A quicker way to see if a website is mobile friendly is to resize your browser window (on a desktop or laptop computer). If the text, images, and forms all scale down to fit nicely in the smaller browser window then congratulations! Your website is mobile friendly.

If you discover that you have over set text and images are cut off by the browser’s window, then unfortunately your website isn’t optimized for viewing on mobile devices.

About a year ago it was official – people search for things more on their smartphones than desktop computers. If your website isn’t mobile friendly then you’re bumped out of those search results.

It’s not too late to update your website. 

Let’s face it – more and more business is being conducted online. By not showing up on the first page of Google you could be leaving a lot of business on the table. But there is good news!

It’s not too late to update your website to have a mobile friendly design. By getting a mobile friendly website you will start to perform better in mobile search results which can bring you more business leads.

Your website should be viewed as your best employee – only if it’s optimized. A website works 24/7/365 with no over time. It’s also more effective than canvassing a neighborhood with a few of your crew members because people searching for your business on Google already want what you offer.



Jordan M. Stambaugh has a degree in Digital Media Design and specializes in website creation and SEO services for local businesses.

He has helped numerous businesses rank in local search results, generating more revenue for companies in the tree service, home improvement, dental, plumbing, painting, repairs, beauty, solar industries and more.

 You’ll find him at Stambaugh Designs helping companies grow their business and at his business and design blog writing about website design and internet marketing.

Confessions of an Online Fashion Scam

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By Jade Garcia, PR Coordinator

You’re browsing Facebook and see an ad on the side of the screen with the shoes you’ve had your eye on for a while. You glance at it because it’s just an ad. But then you do a double take because the website is selling it for a lot less than other retailers! You get so excited about the deal that you decide to put two pairs into your shopping cart and click the checkout button and enter your debit card to purchase them both.

The next day you check your email to see if your purchase has shipped, but you never received a confirmation email. Back on the website you find a phone number. When you try calling, it rings and leads you to a voicemail. Next you check your bank account to see if they charged you for the shoes. Instead there’s a random transaction from a company you have never heard of before. What’s going on?

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This is just a scenario of what could happen to you when you run into an online purchase scam.

Consumer Experience

A consumer reported to Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest that she experienced a similar scam on sportsfanatic.co.

“I first saw their posts on Facebook ads- which now I know that should’ve been a sign,” she said.

She adds that she went to the Sports Fanatic website and saw the BBB shield, but never clicked on it to see a review.

When a couple weeks passed with no confirmation email and no package arriving with her sweatshirt, she tried looking up their phone number. She didn’t see one on their website so she emailed support@sportsfanatic.co. When she never received a call or email back she looked at her bank account and noticed a fraudulent charge listed as Summit View LLC.

Luckily, this consumer reported the incident to the BBB Scam Tracker and her bank. Through her bank, she was able to get her money back and change bank accounts so this business couldn’t charge her again. By reporting this scam to Scam Tracker, she warns other consumers to look out for these online shopping scams.

 

To dodge these scams, BBB warns to look out for the following red flags:

Spot Look-alike Sellers

 Watch out for URLs that use the names of well-known brands along with extra words or letters. It’s easy for scammers to mimic a famous retailer’s website. Even the confirmation email can be deceiving and seem legitimate. Check out retailers at bbb.org before you shop.

Look for the BBB Seal.

Some websites are misusing the BBB seal. To check if a company is truly accredited click on the blue BBB torch icon and you should be redirected to bbb.org to view the company’s business review. If not, it’s likely a fake.

Advertisement on Social Media

Forty percent of the scams reported to BBB Northwest were advertised on social media or used it as a means of contact. Remember, anyone can create a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account. Check to see if the social media accounts have links to websites to make sure the business is legitimate.

Security Settings.

If the site is secure there should be an “s” in “https://” and a lock icon in the address bar on the purchase or shopping cart page.

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Still not sure if the site is a scam or not? Before checking out and typing in a form of payment, make sure to follow these tips:

Unusual Forms of Payment.

Be wary of anyone who asks you to pay for purchases using prepaid debit cards, gift cards, wire transfers, third parties, etc. These payments cannot be traced and cannot be undone.

Declined Card at Purchase.

Multiple consumers have reported to BBB that when they make a purchase on the site, their card claims to be declined and within hours their cards are charged several times.

Be Wary of Signing Up for an Account.

Some websites require credit card information when creating an account. By creating an account and providing personal information, it may mean signing up for an unknown subscription, charge or for scammers to hack your card information.

To find out more about scams or to report one go to BBB Scam Tracker.

New Incentives for Employers Help Workers Recover After a Workplace Injury

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Leah with one of her patients.

Written by Rena Shawver,  L&I Return to Work Partnerships

Leah’s Story

When a horse reared up behind her, all Leah could do was hope for the best as the 1,200-pound animal came down on top of her.  The vet tech knew instantly her back was broken.  After multiple surgeries to repair several breaks and a long recovery period, Leah had recovered physically as much as possible.  Among other things, her “new normal” meant no heavy lifting. She realized her permanent physical restrictions would not allow her to work with large animals again.  But being a veterinarian technician was the only work she knew; and she loved her job. 

Today, Leah is working full-time as a vet tech with a new employer at a small animal emergency clinic. Although she was hired for her skill, as a certified preferred worker through the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), her employment comes with financial incentives that will benefit both her and her employer.

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Veterinarian technician Leah Wiltse-Perry was severely injured when a horse she was leading reared up and came down on her, breaking her back in several places. Through the Preferred Worker Program, she’s been able to find a medically-appropriate permanent job as a vet tech working with small animals at Pet Emergency Clinic in Spokane.

Supporting workers after recovery

Like Leah, some workers are not able to go back to their old jobs because of permanent medical restrictions caused by a workplace injury or illness. They’ve healed but are limited from doing certain tasks.

L&I certifies these workers through the Preferred Worker Program and provides financial incentives and premium relief to eligible employers who create medically-appropriate, long-term jobs for preferred workers.

Major changes to the Preferred Worker Program

Last January, the Washington State Legislature expanded the Preferred Worker Program to allow all employers in Washington State, including the employer of injury and self-insured employers, the opportunity to hire a preferred worker.

Under the rules of the expanded program, employers will receive the following:

  • Financial protection against subsequent claims,
  • Premium relief,
  • Bonus payment equal to 10% of the worker’s wages or $10,000, whichever is less, for continuous employment, and
  • Reimbursement for:
    • 50% of the base wages paid to the preferred worker, up to $10,000.
    • Some of the cost of tools, clothing, and equipment the worker needs to do the job.
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Leah shows her supervisor, Mike O’Dea, DVM, and her Vocational Service Specialist, Ellen Nagourney, how the modified equipment bought through L&I’s incentive programs help her at work.

Why offer incentives to support jobs?

Many employers at heart want to help their workers after an injury, but find making that transition from the job of injury to a new job that meets the worker’s physical or mental restrictions a hardship financially.

Preferred Worker Program incentives help the worker and employer keep their relationship, giving them extra support and guidance through a transition period often with the help of a vocational counselor.

Other return-to-work incentives

Stay at Work is another return-to-work incentive program. L&I reimburses eligible employers for some of their costs when they provide temporary, light-duty jobs for injured workers while they heal. Employers covered through the workers’ compensation State Fund may qualify for financial incentives from both the Stay at Work Program and the Preferred Worker Program.

Hiring employers could also qualify for additional financial help to modify equipment at worksites that will help preferred workers complete certain work-related tasks.

Using return-to-work programs help lower an employers’ workers’ compensation costs both in the short and long-term.

Learn more about the Preferred Worker Program

Already, about 100 employers have contacted L&I with interest in hiring some of the 1,500 certified preferred workers who are ready to work and are supported by the financial incentives of the Preferred Worker Program.

To learn more, sign up for one of L&I’s  Preferred Worker workshops by going to www.Lni.wa.gov/PreferredWorker.  Or contact the Preferred Worker Program by phone at 1-800-845-2634 or by email at PrefWorkerProg@Lni.wa.gov to ask how to apply for preferred worker benefits.

Hear more about Leah’s story by watching this video.

January Scam Wrap-Up

Scam Computer Key

The following are scams that were reported to Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest in January. In most instances names and locations have been omitted to protect the victims’ privacy.

ALASKA

This month there were 17 scams reported in Alaska with an estimated $6,100 lost.

Utility Scam

An Anchorage resident reported someone impersonated Municipal Light and Power in order to steal $300 from them. They claim they received a call from someone saying they needed to pay their electricity bill or they would be disconnected. The caller told them someone would be by their home in a few hours to disconnect the power if they didn’t pay up over the phone. After getting off the phone with the person the victim called back to say they were not with that utility company. The person on the other end of the phone preceded to pretend to be someone else. The Anchorage resident ceased communication.

Online Purchase Scam

An Anchorage man reported he lost $4,650 when he tried to purchase a Cockatoo for $1,400. The man claimed he was told to use United Pet Express to ship the bird. When he contacted the shipping company they informed him he needed to make a $2,400 deposit to cover any issues with delivery, which he did. Before the bird was shipped he was told he needed to pay $750 to cover the birds’ shots. Finally, he received a message from the “delivery man” stating he needed another $690 to drop off the bird and the refund. The man refused the pay any more money, and never received the bird.

OREGON

This month there were 83 scams reported in Oregon with an estimated $2,860 lost.

Counterfeit product

A Medford woman reports she lost $429 after she ordered two hoverboards from a California company for Christmas. The woman reports one of the hoverboards did not work. She called the company, but got a message stating the voicemail box was full. She emailed the company three times and got a response from customer service asking what was wrong with the machine. After explaining her problem, she never received a response. Her order did not come with a return address and repeated attempts to contact the company have not been answered.

Rental Home scam

A Gresham woman reported she lost $400 in a rental home scam. The woman reports she found a Craigslist ad for a rental house in Portland. The landlord said they lived in New York and requested she send a deposit via MoneyGram to his personal assistant and then he would send the keys. The women sent $400, but never received the keys.

IDAHO

This month there were 106 scams reported to Scam Tracker out of Idaho with an estimated $17,775 lost.

Facebook friend scam

A Caldwell man reported a fake Facebook friend tried to con him out of thousands of dollars. The man states he received a message on Facebook from who appeared to be an old friend of his. The friend said he had won $150,000 through a Facebook contest and the Caldwell man was also listed as a winner. He was told to send a message to “Agent Terry Williams” with “Non-Governmental Organization.” The man did this and was told by the “agent” that in order to receive his funds he would need to pay up. The man states: “He then sent me a list of amounts I could claim as my winnings starting at $100,000 and going up to $600,000. The catch here is that you pay $1,050 to claim $100,00, up to $10,500 to claim $600,000.” He was also told he needed to keep the contest a secret. The man became suspicious and reported the incident to BBB Scam Tracker.

Tax Collection scam

A Boise man reported he received an automated voice message claiming to be the IRS and he had a lawsuit and federal arrest warrant issued against him. He was told to call a number immediately. The man knew he did not have any legal action against him and did not call the number. He then reported the incident to BBB Scam Tracker.

MONTANA

This month there were 14 scams reported to Scam Tracker out of Montana with an estimated $300 lost.

Passport service scheme

A Manhattan woman reported she lost $178 when she tried to expedite the passport process for her five-year-old. The woman used an online service that told her they could help rush the process on obtaining a passport for her child. However, after paying the fee she contacted the National Passport Information Center and was informed the child had to be present at the office in order to obtain a passport and the information she was receiving from the business was not accurate.

Online Windows Support scam

A Deer Lodge woman reported she was almost victim of a tech scam. The woman reports she was working on her computer when she received a notice with a Microsoft logo telling her she had a virus and to call 877-767-7342. The woman called the number and spoke to man named “Bruno Williams.” He asked to do a diagnostic test to her computer remotely. The woman became suspicious and hung up on the man.

WASHINGTON

This month there were 200 scams reported to Scam Tracker out of Washington with an estimated $9,600 lost.

Online pet purchase scam

A Spanaway woman reported she lost $505 in a pet purchase scam. The woman reports she purchased a puppy from http://www.modestshihtzu.com via MoneyGram. The woman states once the seller received the money they requested additional funds to transport the dog in a special crate. When she refused, the seller told her they would deliver a dead puppy at her doorstep. The woman ceased speaking with the seller, but have received threatening emails from them.

Pierce County Sheriff Imposter Scam

A Buckley woman reports she received a call from someone claiming to be with the Pierce County Sheriff. The woman reports she received a call from a “Lt. Parker” who told her a warrant had been issued for her arrest for failure to appear for a civil duty court in December. She became suspicious when the caller told her she needed to purchase $1,975 in MoneyPak cards and to call the “Sheriff’s Treasurer” to give them the confirmation numbers so she wouldn’t be arrested when she went to the sheriff’s office to sign some paperwork. The woman contacted her local police department and confirmed the call was a scam.

How to Refresh Your Brand in 2017

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The close of one year and the start of the next brings many things. For most individuals and businesses a new year means a new start, providing a clean slate with which to move forward. While this may not be technically correct – after all, the clock striking midnight on New Year’s Eve doesn’t erase previous performance – the mindset of change and starting over can be refreshing, especially for small businesses with big goals.

Whether 2016 was a year overflowing with success or wrought with challenges, the coming of 2017 is the perfect time to refresh your brand, fine tune your focus, and get started on the right foot. A brand refresh can have great potential, reminding you of your vision, ensuring consistency, and encouraging growth rather than stagnation. Here’s what you can do to ensure 2017 is your best year yet.

Connect With Your Audience

Most companies choose to leave outsiders in the dark when it comes to business strategy. For many, this is a logical decision, preventing competitors from overtaking your ability to gain ground. However, this approach can have the opposite effect with customers, putting up walls that create unnecessary distance.

The beginning of the year is a perfect time to inspire some loyalty and emotional ties. Consider posting a blog summarizing your activity and successes in 2016 and thanking your customers and fans for all that they do for you. When shared on social media, these posts provide the kind of information that stimulates a connection between you and your customers.

Target a New Market

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If you’re a small company or a new business, you may not be reaching everyone who can make use of your products and services. In order to maximize potential, use the start of a new year as inspiration to grow and improve.

Take time with your marketing team, and review who you are targeting, what you are targeting, and where the majority of your sales are coming from. With this information, you can draw conclusions regarding what areas you can approach more aggressively, and which audiences likely aren’t receiving the attention they deserve.

Reevaluate Costs

Even the most successful companies in the world can feel the pain of pinching pennies. To improve your odds of financial success in the new year, it’s important to take a deep dive into your expense reports.

Start from the top down and evaluate each category that drives your spending. Sure, you may not be able to do anything about monthly rent, but making minor energy saving changes, like limiting printing to must-have reports, can really add up over the course of the year. Look for unnecessary expenses that your team can do without that won’t compromise employee morale, and make some cuts for the new year.

Try New Marketing Techniques

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How you market your products and services can be a great opportunity for growth and change. With so many options from social media marketing to email newsletters, there’s bound to be a strong strategy you’ve never considered.

Instead of doing the same things day after day, take a look at what your marketing campaigns may be lacking. Are you tracking your success with Google Analytics? Are you focusing solely on Twitter instead of taking advantage of Facebook? By taking the time to identify shortcomings, you can find a great way to move forward in the new year.

Brainstorm New Ideas

When the status quo is positive, it’s easy to fall into a predictable rhythm every year. However, there’s no good way to grow without incorporating changes. The start of another year is the perfect time to start brainstorming new ideas, whether that means putting more focus into research and development, or simply improving community relations with volunteer activities.

Consider putting out a suggestion box and soliciting ideas from your team. Take at least one option offered, whether functional or recreational, and implement it company-wide. This strategy not only shows that you listen to feedback, but can also demonstrate a willingness to keep moving forward.

A brand refresh offers many benefits, providing a new perspective on your corporate identity and an opportunity to build connections with current and prospective customers alike. If you’d like to do more than simply exist in the new year, this can be your chance to revitalize your brand and move your business forward. By changing up marketing techniques, building emotional connections, and launching new products or services, you help ensure that 2017 will be a smashing success.

Have a Healthy and Happy 2017!

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In 2016 consumers turned to BBB serving the Northwest more than 5,328 times to look up health clubs, fitness centers, and gyms. Unfortunately, BBB has processed an estimated 90 complaints for the fitness industry in 2016 as well. The complaints ranged from billing and collection issues to contract issues.

To get the most out of your membership and to avoid signing up for something you can’t afford and won’t use, follow these tips:

  • Warm up with a tour. Before signing up at any gym, ask to take a tour of the facilities. Make sure the gym has the equipment, classes, and trainers you are looking for. Ask about busy times, wait times for equipment, whether classes require pre-registration, availability, and cost of trainers.
  • Look for discounts. Gyms often offer specials at the beginning of the year. From free week passes to heavy discounts to first time members, this is a great way to see if the gym is a good fit for you and save on sign up costs.
  • Don’t feel coerced. Do not give in to high-pressure sales tactics to join right away. A reputable gym will want you to read the contract thoroughly before signing up. Make sure that all verbal promises made by the salesperson are also in writing. Be sure to ask about the cancellation policies and how membership is renewed.
  • Know the true costs. Gyms often use special introductory offers to encourage new members, but the price could go up more than you budgeted once the initial period is over. Make sure you understand what the regular monthly fees will be and what they include.
  • Check bbb.org. BBB has Business Reviews on more than 15,000 health clubs, fitness centers, and gyms. Read what previous customers say and see how the businesses respond to complaints.

To find a list of accredited fitness centers in the Northwest visit our Accredited Business Directory.

How to Track Social Media in Google Analytics

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As they say, ignorance is bliss.

Unfortunately, this generally doesn’t apply to digital marketing. In fact, ignorance may be as far from bliss as possible, especially if your social media accounts aren’t performing to your standards.

For those with no way to track website performance and metrics, it can be easy to believe that you’re hitting all of your benchmarks, driving new traffic, and harvesting adequate leads. Overlooking weak spots and missing pain points completely is also possible without a good way to objectively evaluate how your social media accounts are functioning.

Luckily, there’s a better way. Google Analytics is a free tool widely used by novice webmasters and seasoned veterans alike. It offers an easy way to evaluate traffic sources and determine the effectiveness of social media campaigns. Providing insight into the many facets of site functionality, Google Analytics can unwrap your website’s performance, uncovering the truth about what your digital marketing is able to accomplish.

Curious? Here’s how you can make the most of your social media stats:

Track Traffic Sources

Many marketers erroneously believe that as long as website traffic stays steady, everything must be fine. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Without a solid understanding of where your customers are coming from and how they’re getting to you, it’s very challenging to get a full picture of consumer web behavior. Google Analytics is extremely valuable in this arena, breaking down traffic from exact point of origin.

Under the category Real Time there is a section called Traffic Sources. From here you will be able to see exactly where traffic to your website is originating, a function that silos results based on individual traffic sources. Many of these sources should be expected; most marketers see many results from Google and direct access, as well as social media sites, blog posts, and more. Take the time to go through your most popular sources, and determine which are social media sites and see how these sites rank overall.

Set Goals with Campaigns

In order to truly hone in on how your social media marketing campaigns are working, Google Analytics lets users set up goals. This feature allows you to narrow your results, tracking specific features regarding how consumers perform once they reach your site.

Under the Admin tab, click Goals, and then select New Goal. In the fields provided, enter the data you wish to track, including pages visited or viewing duration. Choose a name that summarizes what you’d like to accomplish, and select Destination as the type. Then, in the destination field, enter the tail end of the URL you’d like to track. For example, if you’d like to see how many Twitter followers make a purchase, you can set this field to reflect your Thank You page. Users can also add monetary value tracking or incorporate a sequence of pages through the Funnel feature.

View Conversions

For most marketers, conversions are an end goal. Fortunately, Google Analytics makes tracking conversions easy, providing access to one-click insight by going to the Acquisitions menu, selecting All Traffic, and then choosing Channels. From here, users can enable the Social view to see exactly how social media sites break down.

The report generated here will include many valuable stats, including goal conversion rates, goal completions, and goal value, providing a great overview into how your goals are performing for each social site. Users can also utilize the Assisted Conversions report, accessed under the Conversions menu under Multi-Channel Funnels. This report maps which leads were originally, but maybe not specifically, a result of social media marketing. For example, a customer may have found your site through social media, clicked away, and then used Google to find your page again days later in order to make a purchase.

Draw Conclusions

Google Analytics is a great start, but numbers alone can’t tell you how to improve. Instead, you need to learn from what information you have available, using it to develop insights that can be applied to boost your social performance. Devise questions that relate to social behaviors and see how your customers are fitting into the mold. What social media sites have the highest visits? Do Facebook leads have a longer page duration? Is your traffic from Twitter viewing more pages on average?

Formulating these questions can help you get to the root of your social media successes and failures, especially when you are running specific campaigns. For example, if visitors from Twitter are spending more time on your landing page but don’t see a reason to click through, perhaps your marketing materials are misleading.

For marketers at all stages of the game, access to analytics can be the demarcation between growth potential and slowing sales. Google Analytics can provide many of the insights you need to improve performance, putting game-changing resources right at your fingertips.

BBB Infographic: Top Five Small Business Scams

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November Scam Wrap-Up

Top Scams 2015

The following are scams that were reported to Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest in November. In most instances names and locations have been omitted to protect the victims’ privacy.

ALASKA

This month there were seven scams reported in Alaska with an estimated $354 lost.

Online Purchase

A woman in Anchorage reported she lost $354 after a charge from an unknown company was made to her debit account. The woman states she received the charge from Prince Bags. She called the number associated with the charge, but was unable to speak with a real person. She reported the incident to BBB Scam Tracker.

BOA Spoof

A woman in Anchorage reported she received a phone call from someone claiming to be from Bank of America. The caller spoofed the BOA number convincing the woman it was a legitimate call. The caller told the woman her account was going to be cancelled. The woman does not have a BOA account, but called the number back to get more information. Once the caller realized the woman did not have a BOA account they hung up on her and her number was blocked.

OREGON

This month there were 27 scams reported in Oregon with an estimated $700 lost.

Rental Scam

A woman in Portland reported she lost $24.99 in a Craigslist Rental scam. The woman reports she found an apartment listing on Craigslist about a property she was familiar with. She contacted the renter and was told to pay for a credit report at creditupdates.com. The woman never heard back from the renter and when she saw the ad again she inquired with a different email and received the exact same response and was told to conduct the credit report.

Direct TV Spoof

A woman in Portland reported she received a phone call from someone claiming to be from DirectTV. The caller spoofed the DirectTV number which convinced her that it was a legitimate call. The caller told the woman she was at risk of losing service. When the woman asked for a number she could call to confirm he was with DirectTV the caller became angry with her. The woman hung up and then confirmed with DirectTV that the call was fraudulent.

IDAHO

This month there were 36 scams reported to Scam Tracker out of Idaho with an estimated $13,500 lost.

Online purchase

A woman in Post Falls reported she lost $190 after she ordered a face cream from an online company that advertised it as a “free offer” after the buyer covers the shipping fees. The woman reports she had an allergic reaction to the cream and was still charged $175 on top of the shipping fees. She tried contacting customer service, but reports the company refused to refund her money.

Government Grant

A woman in Shoshone reported she lost $350 in a Government Grant scam. She reported she was told by a man she was the recipient of a $700 grant. She was told to purchase an iTunes gift card for $350 and call him back with the card number. After she did that she was told to send an additional $700. The woman ceased contact and reported the incident to BBB.

MONTANA

This month there were six scams reported to Scam Tracker out of Montana with an estimated $850 lost.

Fake Invoice

A woman in Bozeman reported her company received a fake invoice for $487.60 from Global Business Systems. The woman reports the “company” billed her for toner. She states her company does not deal with this business and ignored the letter. She reported to BBB that the company is threatening to send them to collections.

Tech Support

A woman in Livingston reported she lost $99 to a fake tech support scam. While on her computer she received a pop-up claiming to be from Microsoft warning her that her PC had a virus. She was given a phone number to call to have it removed. The woman called the number and gave the “customer representative” her credit card information and approved a charge of $99 to have the virus removed. Unfortunately, this type of scam is common.

WASHINGTON

This month there were 52 scams reported to Scam Tracker out of Washington with an estimated $31,600 lost.

Online Purchase

A woman in Mount Vernon reported she lost $75 when she attempted to purchase an item from Sweet Paula’s Pods. The woman reports she purchased the items from http://www.sweetpaulaspods.com. A few days later she emailed the company asking for shipping information. When she never heard back from the company the woman looked up the business online and discovered there were other customers with similar problems concerning the business.

Sportswear Scam

A woman in Orting reported she lost $51.98 to an online sportswear store. The woman reports she purchased a Husky/Seahawks sports sweatshirt from www.sportsfanatic.co, but never received the product. She has an appending charge listed as “Summit View LLC” for the amount.