Sunscreen isn’t the only thing you need to protect yourself this summer; the season is a hotbed (pun intended) for scams as well. Unfortunately, just because you’re spending time relaxing in the sun or taking a well-deserved vacation, doesn’t mean that fraudsters are too. Here are some popular summer scams to watch out for.
Vacation Property Scams
Beware of rental properties that look too good to be true, even if they appear on an accredited website like Airbnb or VRBO.
How to protect yourself: Read the reviews! Be wary of rental properties with no reviews or ones that ask for advanced payments. Consider getting a real estate agent involved — maybe someone local to the area that can visit the home before you make any commitments. Some home rental sites offer guarantees against fraud, so if you’re booking online, make sure you’re familiar with the company’s policies.
Hotel stays are, unfortunately, a great opportunity for scammers to take advantage of a guest’s sense of security. Be on the lookout for fake phone calls from the front desk asking to verify your information, or discounted room prices that seem too good to be true.
How to protect yourself: Always protect your information. If someone’s asking for personal details over the phone, hang up and call the number listed on the hotel’s website to verify the legitimacy of the request, or better yet, go to the front desk in person. Also, when using hotel wifi, be sure to verify you’re using a secure network before connecting or opening up any sites, like online bank accounts, that might give hackers access to your personal info.
Summertime is a great time for fun activities like concerts, baseball games, and excursions, but ticket sales usually mean scalpers trying to overcharge you or scammers offering fake deals.
How to protect yourself: When on vacation or booking any kind of outing, use a credit card if possible. Your credit card offers you more protection than cash and makes it easier to dispute any false charges. Always read reviews before booking any type of ticket, vacation bundle, or things like cruises, and walk away from rock bottom prices that just seem too good to be true — they probably are.
Home Improvement Scams
Summer is a great time to make improvements on your home before the weather turns cold and gloomy. Unfortunately, scammers know this too. Popular scams include “contractors” offering to give you a deal on maintenance — maybe they just finished a job nearby and have leftover materials — as well as salespeople offering you things like home security systems at a great rate. Summer is also a popular time to move, and scammers will offer you fast, cheap moving services and then never show up or even go so far as to ransom you for your belongings.
How to protect yourself: Do your research! Consult the Better Business Bureau to find trusted providers for the services you need and educate yourself on what things should cost.
Summer Job Scams
People looking to make some extra cash in the summer or combatting unemployment may be at risk of falling victim to a summer job scam. Fraudsters are looking to trick you out of personal information, without ever following through on a job offer.
How to protect yourself: Look out for job openings that seem to be offering a high hourly rate for minimal work, contain spelling errors, or came to you seemingly out of the blue. Never click on a link sent to you or offer up personal information without first verifying the legitimacy of the source and speaking to an authorized representative.