With summer time in full swing everyone is enjoying the warm weather, the barbecues and poolside chats.
Scammers and fraudsters are also enjoying the new opportunities to steal that usually pop up when the warmer weather arrives. Below are 5 of the most common scams that are being seen around the country, along with a number of things that you can do to make sure that you don’t fall victim to them. Enjoy.
Two of the most common travel related scams including “free cruise” scams. Typically contacted by either email or text message, victims of free cruise scams are offered a free cruise but then asked to pay a number of fees in order to book it. In the process of taking care of these fees they give up a lot of personal information, which is then turned around and sold to the highest bidder, something that can become bad news in the very near future. Keep in mind that almost nothing in life is truly free and, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Morally reprehensible, disaster relief scams also kick into high gear during the summer when “hurricane season” usually begins. After most major disasters, these types of scans start popping up, as they did after 2012’s Superstorm Sandy when a wide variety of fraudulent relief efforts and charities began surfacing to take further advantage of the storm’s victims. If you are contacted by a charity your best bet, if you still wish to donate, is to ask for their website URL and check them out online as well as call the Better Business Bureau or any state or federally funded agency to first find out if they are legitimate.
Summer rental scams are easy to come across when the weather is warmer and, especially on Craigslist and other sites that don’t vet their posts, con artists can be found listing vacation rental properties that they don’t own and taking payment for those rentals. When the victim shows up for their vacation, they find out that either there’s no rental property to be had or it’s been rented, but not to them. If you find someone listing a vacation rental property insist that they either talk to you on the phone or allow you to see it in person. If they won’t, or if they ask you to wire money ahead of time in advance, it’s more than likely a scam.
Sports, concerts and festivals are abundant during the summer months and ticket scams are as well. Frankly, purchasing tickets anywhere besides a well-known ticket venue or website that’s sanctioned to sell tickets is unwise. So-called “scalpers” that sell tickets right outside of concert stadiums and ballparks are the worst, disappearing long before you get to the front gate and are told that the tickets you just paid good money for are virtually worthless.
Finally, since college kids are out of school and high school seniors are waiting for college to start, job scams are abundant. Most of these have something to do with “working from home” and will ask the job seeker for a lot of their personal information, including Social Security numbers, when they apply for them. Simply put, unless you are actually invited to an actual business and meets an actual hiring agent, never give your Social Security number or any other important personal information to anyone, especially someone posting a job on Craigslist.
Frankly, unless you are very savvy and know exactly who you are dealing with, avoiding Craigslist is probably your best bet to avoid scammers of all kinds.