5 Summer Scams to Avoid

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man unhappy about his empty wallet
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By Cameron Huddleston

The warmer weather offers fraudsters new opportunities to get people to part with their money or personal information.

Just because it's summer doesn't mean scammers are taking a break. In fact, there are several cons that surface during the warmer months. Here are five scams that are common in the summer and steps you can take to avoid them.

Disaster-relief scams. If the hurricane that's headed toward the North Carolina coast -- Hurricane Arthur -- does hit land and cause destruction, there's a good chance con artists will use it as an opportunity to take advantage of people. A variety of scams pop up after most major disasters, says Adam Levin, founder of Identity Theft 911 and Credit.com. For example, after Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012, fraudulent charities and relief efforts surfaced along with several other cons aimed at taking advantage of disaster victims. If this summer's storm season does result in disasters, don't give to charities that spring up to deal with them. Instead, check CharityNavigator.org for a list of legitimate organizations that have experience providing disaster relief.

Travel scams. There are several travel-related scams, but two of the most common are free cruise and vacation rental scams, says Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of Identity Theft Resource Center. Victims of the cruise scam typically are contacted by phone, e-mail or text message and offered a free cruise that actually isn't free. People have to pay a variety of fees to book the cruise and, in the process, have to give up a lot of personal information -- which is then sold, Velasquez says. If you want to take a cruise, skip the free offers and, instead, follow these five steps to get a cruise deal.

With rental scams, con artists list properties that they don't own on Craigslist or other sites that don't vet posts. Then they take people's money and leave them without a place to stay, Velasquez says. If the person listing a vacation rental will only communicate by e-mail, won't show you the property in advance or asks you to wire money, she says it's likely a scam. For tips on renting an apartment, condo or house when you travel, see How to Save Money on Vacation Rental Properties. For more information on avoiding travel scams, see How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off While Traveling.

Home-repair scams. When the weather gets warm, homeowners are more likely to get a knock on the door from someone offering to do repair work at a low price. Usually, they'll claim that they've done paving or roofing for someone else in the neighborhood and have extra materials they're willing to unload for cheap, Velasquez says. These traveling repairmen typically aren't licensed and do shoddy work, she says. So when it comes to home improvement, you should always pick the contractor -- don't let them pick you. For more information, see Home Remodeling Done Right.

Ticket scams. Scammers know how pricey tickets to concerts, sporting events and festivals can be, so they try to take advantage of people looking for deals. In particular, they often offer reasonably priced tickets to sold-out events, Velasquez says. They'll take your cash and leave you empty-handed. To avoid paying for tickets that don't exist, Levin of Identity Theft 911 says that you always should purchase tickets through the venue or Web site sanctioned to sell tickets -- not through an unknown third party. For tips on seeing performances and events at discounted prices, check out How to Save Money on Concerts, Sports and More.

Job scams. Scams targeting job hunters pop up in the summer when many high school and college students are looking for temporary work. Many revolve around work-at-home gigs that are advertised on signs along the side of the road, in community papers, on Craigslist and on free online job-listing sites. Often the people or companies offering these opportunities will ask job seekers for a lot of personal information, including Social Security numbers, when they apply, Levin says. Although employers do need this sort of information from new employees, they don't need it during the application process. Too often people are so eager to put themselves in the right light with a prospective employer that they walk right into a trap by providing information that can be used to steal their identities, Levin says. To guard against job scams, do a search online using the company name or phone number and the word "scam" or "complaint." Also check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the company. For legitimate work-at-home positions, consider these 10 options.


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Buckingham's

They forgot to list "presidential scams".

July 14 2014 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dustytuu

Do not depend on the Better Business Bureau. They are useless! Some time ago, we had a roofer who put a new roof on our house. He was not a good businessman and did not even complete the job! We could prove everything we complained about. We filled out paper work with the BBB, Did a on-line complaint and nothing has ever been done about it and he still is in the BBB's list of recommended roofers. He has had many other complaints about his work. Many have sued him.
He keeps changing the name of his company so he keeps working and doing bad roofing jobs. And he gets business licenses in other people names.

July 14 2014 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sharpsguy

P. T. Barnum said it first, famously: "There's a sucker born every minute."
There's no free lunch, and it it sounds too good to be true, it ISN'T true!

July 13 2014 at 2:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
greshan60

A few years ago when I lived in the country area of this town, I had a group of people drive up my lane and I went out to greet them because I wanted them to know I was home. They told me they had done the barn building project down the road and wanted to repair the roof on my house, I rented then, and I knew that the barn had been finished a few months ago, not recently as they implied. I told them sure they could do my roof, just ask my landlord across the road. This was a lie, but I felt I knew what they would do, and as I watched them leave the neighborhood, I was right. There were scams reported around town and this will happen during certain times of the year and usually these groups are from a long way off.

July 13 2014 at 12:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
crimeslawyer

Scam #6: Anything that comes out of Obama's mouth.

July 13 2014 at 10:46 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to crimeslawyer's comment
alfredschrader

Wisdom is worth more than rubies.

July 13 2014 at 10:17 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
korrectionelecshun

ovomit is the biggest scam ,dont buy any house cause you will just get it stolen from ovomits record foreclosures like millions of Americans got stolen already in the last 5 plus years now ,wait till ovomit is removed from our white house in handcuffs in 2014 n deported along with all his illegal immigrants he let "BREAK" into America like himself. !!!!!

July 13 2014 at 10:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to korrectionelecshun's comment
Pllc15

I notice from time to time posts on websites and comments that mention you can find work doing it at home and earn good income. I suppose these classify themselves in the realm of scams also.

July 12 2014 at 5:11 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
scottee

how can we avoid the scam that is the federal government?

July 12 2014 at 3:37 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to scottee's comment
storytellerjmc

Missed the worst summer scam of all. Law enforcement claims they are unable to pursue
criminal charges against the perps. So they walk or get 'probation'; then go back into business,
sometimes in the same place. Anyway, nothing has changed. Why not work harder, send the
perps to prison; deny them a business license when they get out. They can find work sweeping the streets or picking veggies under the hot summer sun. They deserve no better.

July 12 2014 at 2:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply