Its that time of year again. Hot sun, vacations, summer jobs and unfortunately summer scams. So here’s a list on how to not get sunburned this summer with these five scams and hopefully I can alleviate the summertime blues.
1. Summer Rental Scam
It’s not so easy finding a place to rent for the summer that meets your needs ie. an acceptable walk to the beach, the right amount of bathrooms/bedrooms, pet friendly etc. So, when you actually find the ideal place, most people swoop in as fast as they can and grab it before anybody else takes it. Don’t be like most people!
Should you fall victim to a summer rental scam, you won’t know about it until you arrive at the front door and a perplexed person stares at you like you’re some kind of lunatic. On top of that, good luck locating the rental office because it’s a deserted drive-in.
The best way to protect yourself is to actually pay the property a visit prior to booking. However, if for some reason you can’t and you need to hire a real estate agent to help, make sure to check their credentials ie. their license number. Also, ask for references from the property owner if you can’t find any reviews online. Moreover, make sure that it is a real address and it is really for rent. Some rental home websites do their own cross-checking and provide a guarantee which guards you against fraud, but it’s best to do your own research.
2. Summer Job/Credit Application Scam
It’s not an uncommon request to require a background check prior to being hired, but likely a young person who’s searching for a summer job isn’t applying to be an armored car driver or bank clerk. Think first before giving out identifiable, personal information to a prospective employer.
Sadly, when youths provide their personal information for so-called “tax purposes” which includes their Social Security number, they don’t hear from the employer ever again. Poof! They’re gone! Here’s why. The “job” was bogus and their identity has been stolen because kids are basically naive. Frequently, it takes them a while to figure out that the jerk who backed out of the offer for a summer job destroyed their credit.
Here’s what to do to avoid this disaster. NEVER give personal, identifiable information to anyone offering a job at the beginning of the process. Prior to arriving at the interview, make sure that the job is authentic. You can do this by phoning around or searching online.
3. Door Knocking Scam
Unfortunately, when summer arrives, so does the door-knocking scam. It can be just about anything. From a “knocker” who wants you to give money to help out an endangered species or a faraway war-torn country to lawn/home maintenance or sustainable electricity. All of these examples may, in fact, be genuine, but the individual asking for your help isn’t.
If a stranger should come knocking on your door asking for money for any reason/cause, be wise and DON’T GIVE THEM ANYTHING! Simply say to them that you will look up their cause, service or product online to make a donation or purchase and send them on their merry way.
4. Travel Scams
It’s sad to say, but you are a target for scams when traveling. There are any number number of them and they vastly vary; however, two scams are quite common.
First, the front desk scam. You arrive late to check in, you’re exhausted and the phone rings. The scammer has no idea when you arrived to check in. S/he is just randomly calling rooms and tells you there’s an issue with your credit card and if you can verify the number for them.
What to do? If you receive a call from someone claiming to be the front desk, just hang up and call the front desk to verify or just deal with them in person.
Second, the bogus menu scam. Scammers create fake menus and then steal your credit card number/information when you call them up to make an order. In this case, get out your smartphone and order you food through it or reach out to the front desk for recommendations.
5. Moving Scams
Summertime = Moving Time. Just make certain your transition isn’t a “moving” experience to the point of ripping out your hair. While lots of services are awesome and totally legit, there also exist the fraudulent services that can cost you big time.
With handy websites like Angie’s List and Task Rabbit to mention just a few, you can select a moving company that provide reviews and will suit your needs. Just be certain to investigate the company’s reputation online prior to them showing up at your door.
The Bottom Line
Just like ants can spoil a summer picnic so can a talented scammer by clearing out your bank accounts and maxing out your credit cards; however, there is a means of escape and you might be covered already.
If you feel you have become a victim of identity theft, it’s vital to watch your credit for suspicious activity mainly unidentifiable delinquencies or bank accounts. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com once a year. Also, there is a free tool offered by Credit.com‘s called credit report card that every month looks for indications of identity theft,
Also, it might be a good idea to inquire at your HR department, credit union, bank or insurance agency. Some may offer perks that provide damage control if you should fall victim to identity theft.
So, I hope I’ve warned you about How Not To Get Sunburned and avoid the summertime blues. Have you ever been a victim of any of these scams or any others? I’d love to hear from you. Simply leave your comments below.
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