Vacations, home repairs, and entertainment are some of the most popular staples of summer. But the Better Business Bureau says beware of some of the more popular summer scams.
Danielle Rudd with the BBB’s Northwest Florida office says while many are relaxing, others are hard at work on ways to separate them from their money. Vacations can be ruined by fake travel agents and bogus offers online, such as a fake timeshare rental or a falsely promised Disney vacation.
“You want to make sure that you are going to be working with a travel agency that has established a good track record,” says the BBB’s Danielle Rudd. “That will allow you to enjoy your vacation and once you get there, you’ll have your room set up. You’d hate to get somewhere and the venue not be available for you.”
Summer is also the time of year people relocate, either to a new residence or even a new city. Be on the lookout, says Rudd, for unlicensed movers and other scammers waiting to take advantage of the busy season. Also remember that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic, low-ball offer, which may cost you more down the road.
Another popular summer scam involves tickets to concerts, shows, ballgames and other venues. Before purchasing online, make sure the seller is legit and if possible, make it a face-to-face transaction.
“Meet that person in a safe environment to pick up the tickets, and create a safe transaction,” says Rudd. “If you can, verify the legitimacy of those tickets with the venue. If you’re purchasing tickets from a scalper, have them walk you to the front gate. Have the employee scan the tickets, and then hand over your money.”
Yes, Virginia, there are still door-to-door salespeople out there, offering deals for everything from driveway paving to air conditioning repair to security systems and magazines. Before saying yes, Rudd says get all promises in writing, including start and finish dates. Never, ever, sign a contract that has an open-ended completion date or blank spaces.
More information about summer scams can be found at bbb.org, where you can also sign up for “scam alerts.” And remember the Better Business Bureau mantra: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”