The face of the Better Business Bureau’s Cedar Rapids office will change later this month.
Barbara Green, director and sole staff member of the consumer-protection organization’s Cedar Rapids office, has announced she’ll retire May 25.
Des Moines-based BBB Serving Greater Iowa, Quad Cities and Siouxland Region opened the Cedar Rapids office in the wake of the 2008 flood.
“It became pretty evident the BBB needed a presence here,” Green said. Disreputable contractors “came in, they took deposits from people, and they hit the road.”
Before and immediately after the flood local callers to the BBB’s toll-free line — 1-800-222-1600 — were referred to the Des Moines office.
“That didn’t mean a lot to many people,” Green recalled. “We had to get people aware the BBB exists.”
To that end, Green has written a monthly column for The Gazette and appeared weekly on KCRG TV.
“We feel that we’ve really helped a lot of people in the community getting word out on these scams,” she said.
Green, who wouldn’t divulge her age, operated an interior-design business before taking the BBB post.
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“I was active in the community, and that’s what my boss wanted,” she said. “Why would an interior designer do this? Mainly it’s because I just knew business and knew business people.”
Covering seven counties along the Interstate 380 corridor from her office at 1239 First Ave. SE, Green stays busy.
“Every day I come in, there’s a lot on my answering machine,” she said.
Green said the most active current scam is callers claiming to be Internal Revenue Service agents threatening immediate arrest if non-existent back taxes aren’t paid.
The callers “really scare them, they threaten them with jail, they say someone’s going to be knocking on their door within minutes, they’re going to haul them off to jail,” Green said. “That one upsets us to no end — I just got two calls this morning.”
The national BBB is funded through member businesses that may display the organization’s logo after clearing a background check. The national organization fielded 225 million consumer calls and 167 million online inquires last year, Green said.