Summer is seasoned with sizzling scams
Above / The start of summer brings with it a hot list of scams, including travel, tickets, utilities and storm chasers… (PN File Photo)
Editor’s note / This “scam alert” reaches more than 100 stories on this site from the Naperville Police Department and the Better Business Bureau, offering ways to protect yourself. Unfortunately, with the internet and online credit payments, clever scammers have created ways to cheat scammers of all shapes and sizes in every season of the year. It never hurts to brush up on what you probably already know. —PN
Better Business Bureau Alert!
With the official start of summer, most people are looking to take time out to enjoy the warm season. This is not the case with scammers and fraudsters. For many of them, it’s peak season, so you can expect scams to abound.
“Vacation rentals are always at the top of the list,” said Naperville resident Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois in a written statement. “And this year, given the cost of travel or vacation, consumers need to be extra vigilant.”
Bernas added, “If you are looking to book a vacation home or condo, it is imperative that you do your research. Scammers will use listings they find on legitimate sites, passing them off as their own. Once you’ve paid the required deposit, they’re gone, and so is your money.
Beware of phone scams and door-to-door imposters offering ‘great deals’
During the hottest weather, scammers call people threatening to cut off their electricity if they don’t immediately pay a charge over the phone. Beware of imposters who go door to door to upgrade your air conditioner.
Summer also brings out storm chasers and other home repair scammers. They often go door to door offering to repair damage from a storm, or they may claim that your roof needs fixing. These scammers are always ready to give you a lot. Once the deposit is paid, they might disappear. Or, if they do the job, it will be shoddy and made with inferior materials.
“To avoid becoming a victim, it’s best to avoid anyone who comes knocking on your door with a too-good-to-be-true offer and always check the company’s track record before buying. A good place to start is at BBB.org,” Bernas added.
Other summertime scams featured on social media
• Employment scams targeting high school and college students. Job “opportunities” will appear on social media sites offering high-paying positions that require little or no experience. Beware as job advertisements are vague. Often, interviews take place via email and SMS. The goal is to separate students from their money and their personal and financial information.
• Ticket flights. Scammers will post available tickets – which do not exist – for concerts, sporting events and festivals on sites such as Craigslist. Never transfer money or send money for tickets, and be careful of ticket impressions, as scammers often sell the same impression to multiple people.
BBB recommends ways to protect yourself
• Visit BBB.org for business reviews and ratings and look for the BBB seal, a sign of a better business.
• Never pay by gift card or bank transfer to someone you don’t know.
• Never provide personal or financial information in response to unsolicited emails or text messages.
• In vacation rentals, if you are asked to leave the original site to continue the transaction on another site or by e-mail, do not do so.
• When the deal seems too good to be true, walk away.
• Before proceeding with your transaction, do an online search for the person or business using that name and the word “scam”.
Never be too embarrassed to report a scam
If you’ve been the victim of any type of scam, even if you haven’t lost any money, report it to BBB Scam Tracker or file a formal online complaint with BBB.