Summer Scams Heat Up: Warm weather brings out seasonal scams

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    Warm weather brings people out of their winter hibernation, including scammers. With summer just beginning, BBB is warning consumers about popular summer scams. From dishonest door-to-door salespeople and malicious movers to conniving concert ticket dealers, Better Business Bureau says summertime brings out the fair weather fraudsters.

    “Scammers know that people are traveling, looking to buy tickets to summer events or even packing up their home to move, so they adapt their scams to fit the seasons,” says Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. “Whatever summer plans you may have, it’s crucial to take your time, plan and research businesses before making a financial decision.”

    BBB presents the Top Seven Summer Scams:       

    • High pressure door-to-door sales tactics. With warm weather comes knocks on the door. Whatever the product is, always do your research first. Get all promises in writing, including start and finish dates. Never sign a contract that has an open-ended completion date or blank spaces. Remember: if it has to be “now,” it has to be “no.”

    • Vacation scams. Phony pop-up ads or fake third-party booking sites are known for touting too-good-to-be-true travel deals. Whether it’s a fake timeshare rental or a falsely promised sale on hotels or flights, don’t let a travel scam take you for a ride. Make sure the offer is legitimate by double-checking with airlines, hotels and tour operators at their advertised contact information.

    • Unscrupulous movers. Summer is the peak time of year for changing residences and unscrupulous movers are waiting to take advantage of the busy season. Not all price quotes online or over the phone are legitimate (or binding), and crooks are not likely to send an estimator to your home in advance. Also remember that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic, low-ball offer, which may cost you more in the end.

    • Summer concert ticket scams. Before paying for concert tickets online, make sure the seller is reputable. Oftentimes, phony sellers will trick consumers into wiring money upfront only to be left empty-handed. Most concert venues now allow ticket holders to print tickets from personal computers, which also gives scammers the opportunity to sell the same ticket over and over to unsuspecting buyers.

    • Employment scams that can turn a hot summer cold. Finding summer employment is a top priority for most college and high school students. Always be wary of employers who require fees for training and background checks, or who advertise “no experience needed,” as these could be red flags.

    • Fly-by-night-contractors. Summer is the season for landscaping, renovations and other home repairs, but there are shady contractors out there looking to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners. If you’re approached by a contractor claiming they happened to be in the neighbourhood and noticed your house is unsafe, but has the tools and the time to fix it for you, walk away.

    • Opt-out lawn care contracts. If you’ve signed a lawn-care contract in previous years but want to discontinue the service, be sure to check the cancellation policy. Some companies operate on an auto-renewal system which means you will be automatically billed for service unless you take the steps to cancel the contract.

    For more tips you can trust, visit bbb.org

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