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Watching out for Summer scams

Watching out for Summer scams


Although many of us take vacations or breaks through the Summer season, fraudsters work all year long. During the Summer months, there are some specific scams to watch for along with typical scams we see all year long.


The Home Repair Scam

This time of year, home improvements seem to take over. In some cases, those home improvements start with or include a repair person…and fraudsters know this. This type of scheme typically begins with a knock on your door by a “repairman” who says they’re going door-to-door inquiring for business and if you have any repairs, they can help. These can be anything from fixing a leaky roof to installing landscaping, fixing a deck and so much more. They typically rush through the details and sound like they know what they’re talking about.

Watch for red flags. One specific red flag to look out for is they ask you to pay in cash, claiming it’s easier, or may even offer to get you financing. Unfortunately, what happens next is that they need cash upfront for supplies and say they’ll come back to do the repairs at a later date, but you never see them again. In other scenarios, they will “complete” a repair and do shoddy work that truly makes things worse, and could put your home at risk.

Here’s how you can avoid the home-repair scam:

  1. Don’t rush. Before making home repairs, look around at legitimate home repair sources. Even ask your friends and family for recommendations. Make sure whoever you decide to hire is licensed and insured.
  2. Be sure to get everything in writing, and don’t start work until you and your contractor have something signed.
  3. Don’t pay in cash or wire transfer until you know that the work is done, and done right.
  4. When looking for home repair work, get referrals from your friends and family first. Don’t just agree to work with someone who offers out of nowhere.


The Vacation Rental Scam

You’re looking for an affordable, yet nice vacation rental. You come across a rental that almost seems too good to be true. This scam begins when you go to book the rental and the ad says you must wire an advance payment. But, after you make the wire transfer, one of two things typically happens. One, the contract for the rental never arrives or, two, all goes well with the contract, but when you head to the rental, you find out that it doesn't exist or that it's locked up and there's no one to let you in. Now, you’re out all of the money you’ve wired, likely to a fraudster you’ll never find, not to mention without any accommodations for your vacation.

Here’s how you can avoid vacation scams:

  1. If you can, avoid rentals posted on free online classified ads (like Craigslist). It’s best to go through a reputable, third-party site that is known for its rentals, vacation packages, or more.
  2. Check user ratings from online sources like Google or legitimate travel sites.


Home Security Scams

It seems backward when you want to protect your home and your family, but suddenly realized you’ve been scammed! The home security system scam begins similar to the home repair scam. Oftentimes, a person comes to your door or you receive a communication from a ‘salesperson’ warning about a recent influx in burglaries in your area. They always make it seem like you’ve fallen into some ‘luck’ however because you’re ‘eligible’ for a home security system, for a really great price, or totally free. However, just like most scams – there is always a catch. To get a free system you may be required to sign-up for a multi-year monitoring service and must act immediately for this offer. This ‘security system’ is not planning to actually protect you but rather get you to sign up for these faux monitoring services and scam you out of your money.

Here’s how you can avoid home security scams:

  1. Never buy a security system from someone you don’t know.
  2. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
  3. If you’re looking for a legitimate security system for your home, find a trusted provider.
  4. Remember, if anyone shows up saying they’re from your current home security provider to ‘service’ your system be sure to verify with the company before letting them in to work on anything or signing any new documentation.


Entertainment Ticket Scams

We’re all ready to get back to ‘normal’ and that means getting back to concerts, ballgames, and other summer-fun entertainment. The online-ticket scam is easy to fall for. The internet is full of ‘great ticket prices’ which are actually fake tickets, or scalpers charging way more than face value.

 Here’s how you can avoid ticket scams:

  1. Only buy your tickets through a trusted and legitimate retailer; you never know if a ticket is fake or not until you get to the gate.
  2. If the original retailer sold out, check only trusted re-sellers. Do your homework and know the risks you could encounter.
  3. Start ticket shopping early to get the best price and avoid overcharging scalpers.


Imposter Scams

Many of the ‘Summer Scams’ above could also be known as imposter scams. An imposter scam is a person who tricks you into believing they’re with a certain company or certain trade, all in order for you to send them money. They might call you on the phone, send an email or text, or even come to your door in person. Imposters will oftentimes ask for payment in the form of a gift card, cash, or wire transfer.  Here are other common imposter scams to beware of. Click on each scam to learn more:

  1. Apple/Amazon Scam  
  2. Tech Support Scam 
  3. Government Agencies Scams
  4. Romance Scams
  5. Grandparent Scams
  6. Read about more imposter scams on the FTC website:

Scam-proof yourself when considering these types of purchases and/or services: vacation rentals, home or car repairs, alarm systems, and more. Only search for legitimate and reputable businesses from legitimate and trustworthy sources. It's a good idea to read reviews for a company and do your homework until you feel comfortable that they are authentic. When it comes to payment, never make payment in gift cards or a wire transfer because it very well could be a scam! 

Finally, it’s important to always remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.



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