JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Most of you know scam artists will try almost anything to separate you from your hard-earned cash. While you're relaxing and enjoying your summer, don't forget to be on guard.
The Better Business Bureau's Eastern Michigan office said some scams are even more common in the summer months. WDIV-TV's Ruth to the Rescue worked with the BBB to come up with the hottest scams of the summer and how you can avoid them.
Don't let a scam ruin your vacation
One of the most heartbreaking summer scams can ruin your family vacation if you're not careful. Scam artists will try to sell you properties that don't exist, or properties they don't really own. You don't want to show up and find out you don't have a place to stay.
Jill Norander had a good friend who was almost caught in that type of a vacation con. Her friend was searching for a place to stay online.
"Maybe a week later, somebody else emailed her, 'Do you want to book this? We'll give you 25 percent off if you book it right now.' She thought it sounded a little weird. She contacted the owner and, yeah, somebody had hacked into their email," Norander said.
Melanie Duquesnel, CEO of the BBB's office in Southfield, Mich., said when searching for an online rental, you must check out the reviews.
"Look at those comments. Make sure the place was clean, that it was as advertised to be, and the service was great," Duquesnel said.
Another thing to keep in mind when looking for that perfect vacation spot, while you may need to put a deposit down, never pay the whole price upfront. Also, it's smarter to use a credit card to make the payment, just in case you need to challenge the charge later on.
Duquesnel also said you can purchase extra protection. "They actually have insurance that will cover you to go to another place to stay," she said.
Concert ticket trouble
When that big summer concert comes to town, make sure you've got the real thing when it comes to your tickets.
If you go shopping online, beware of scam artists who might try to sell you fake tickets. Before you start looking, Duquesnel said you need to make sure you have your facts straight. Some fake tickets will look authentic, but key items will be incorrect.
"The date will be different, it won't be the actual concert date. Again, you have to be really diligent. You have to do all your homework, know exactly when the concert is supposed to be," she explained
She also said you want to be able to hold and feel the tickets. Don't accept anything someone wants you to print out unless it's from a legitimate ticket site, like StubHub or Ticketmaster.
Summer job scams
School is out and the kids are looking to earn a little extra cash. But don't let that job cost you. If you're looking for a summer job, you may be a target for scammers.
Ashton Swinton of Detroit thinks the scams are annoying when looking for a legitimate job.
"I'm actually looking for a job and I would prefer not to see all these Internet scams," Swinton said.
To avoid this scam, be suspicious of unsolicited job offers -- most employers won't come looking for you. Also, never give out personal information before you're officially hired. Be sure to investigate your potential employer before you even apply. Sometimes, a simple internet search of the company name will give you a heads up that a certain company has been the target of complaints in the past.
Beware some door-to-door sales
Summer is also a popular time for door-to-door sales people to start knocking on your door. While many are legitimate, have your alert on high when they stop by.
Smart consumers should never purchase bigger items or services just because someone passes through their neighborhood.
"Unless you are in the market for what they're trying to sell you, tell them, 'Thank you and have a great day,'" Duquesnel said.
Other things to keep in mind
- Don't answer the door at all if you're home alone. True scam artists might work in pairs, one to distract you at the front door, while another enters the home in back and steals your belongings.
- Ask to see a door-to-door sales license to determine if they're legitimate.
- If someone is pitching you an expensive product or service, be sure to get two more estimates. If you do your homework, and you still like the price and the product, at least you're making an informed decision.
- If you have any second thoughts: "Any time a salesperson comes into your house and sells you something, you have three days to change your mind. That's three business days," Duquesnel said.
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