4 Summer Scams to Watch Out For
August 18, 2012
Allison here, with AllClear ID. Summer may be over for many kids across the country, but the season itself officially doesn’t end until the Fall Equinox. That means over a month of summer left, and plenty of time for scammers to swindle others. We previously covered the home projects scam, but that’s not the only scam swindlers are using to bait people into giving up money and personal information. Watch out for these four other summer scams:
- The Mugged-Grandkid-on-Vacation Scam – Many families, friends and college students spend their summers abroad. If they haven’t calculated their budgets right or happen to get pick-pocketed, this may sometimes put them in a bind for cash help from grandparents, a family member or even you. However, it’s all a con and scammers can do it much more convincingly now that social media has all the information necessary to make it look real, such as contact information and relationship details. If you think you received one of these emails, talk to that person first before wiring over some cash. You wouldn’t want to send money to a hacker.
- Moving Man Scam – Summer is a popular time to move, and with many colleges starting in the next few weeks, parents will be looking for movers to help get their kids in the dorms. In this scam, the movers take your possessions hostage, saying that it was all heavier than expected so they’ll demand extra money to unload your belongings. If you refuse to pay, they may store your stuff at your expense until it’s settled. If you’re moving in the next month or so, do it yourself if you can. If not, make sure to take the time to pick a quality mover. It’s not just the “three-quote” rule that must be followed, but also research their backgrounds and customer reviews to be sure that they’re legitimate.
- The Job-Offer Scam – This is a really unfortunate one since so many people are looking for work and desperately need an actual job instead of a fake one. The scammers even go through great lengths to set up the scam, scheduling interviews and setting up websites for their fake companies. What ends up happening is that the scammers “hire” you, and then ask for money to do the background check or a credit check. Or, they might ask you to complete a few forms for the company. Either way, the scammers get everything they need to steal your identity, and you still don’t have a job.
- The Vacation Rental Scam – How awful would it be if you paid money to spend time in a vacation home or at a time-share, only to find that the keys don’t work or the address was fake? Well, nearly 8,000 rental-related complaints were reported to the center between June 2011 and June 2012, including vacation rental scams, according to the National White Collar Crime Center. Just like with the moving man scam, take the time to research these vacation rental homes and companies, as well as the person offering you the deal. It’s likely that the research will uncover whether or not the offer is a scam.
The temperatures may be cooling down slowly, but scam artists never fizzle. In fact, they are always looking for ways to scam people, and there are scammers who are always on the prowl for new people to victimize. Even though these summer scams may be less common in just a month or two, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any more scams to worry about.