Not all summer scams target unwary travelers. There are legion crimes waiting to happen that target their victims at home or in the workplace. Here are a few of the more common methods employed by scammers:
The summer months are the busiest time of the year for the house moving industry. More than any other time of year, that’s when we move. The first thing you need to know to get your move done right is that there are fraudulent services out there posing as legitimate moving and storage companies. Your job: Avoid them.
“With new online services like Task Rabbit and Angie’s List to name two, there are ways to choose a moving service, large or small, that will suit your needs and both sites provide reviews. Just make sure whatever service you choose that you check their reputation online before they show up at your door,” says CyberScout founder Adam Levin.
Not every scam makes use of the Internet. One old-fashioned method involves going door-to-door under the guise of collecting money for a service or organization.
“Sometimes the knocker wants you to help save an endangered species or an embattled population far away, sometimes they are selling a lawn service, home maintenance or sustainably produced electricity — all these causes, services and products may be legitimate, but the person offering them … not so much,” says Levin. “If you like what a knocker has to say, tell them that you will go online to help their cause or buy a product, and send them on their way.”
Home Improvement Scams
Many homeowners schedule major projects for the summer months, making them ideal targets for shady or fraudulent contractors.
“[B]e wary of high-pressure sales tactics, up front fees, and fly-by-night businesses. Con artists will take homeowners’ money and deliver slipshod work… or no work at all,” warns the Better Business Bureau. “Say no to cash-only deals, high-pressure sales tactics, high upfront payments, handshake deals without a contract, and on-site inspections.”
Summer Job Scams
High school and college-age students looking for summer jobs are a common target of employment scams.
“When it comes to providing personally identifiable information to an employer, use your head,” says Levin, who warns that “when kids are offered a ‘job,’ they provide their information for tax purposes, including their Social Security number, and then never hear back. The reason: The only “job” was a robbery. Their identity is stolen, and because kids will be kids, it often takes a long time for them to realize the jerk who flaked on a summer job offer gutted their creditworthiness.”
Don’t provide sensitive information on job websites or to anyone claiming to offer summer employment without doing some research. You can figure this out by doing an online search or making a few phone calls.