Today marks the longest day of the year and the first day of summer. School is out. Ice cream trucks roam the streets. The dog days of summer are fun for kids, full of good memories for adults, and bursting with opportunities for scammers.
We love the sun just as much as anyone, but before you grab your inner-tube and lather on that SPF, we’ve got some summertime reminders to keep you scam-sharp.
Beware the vacation/timeshare scam. Prevalent all over the United States, scammers will ply unsuspecting consumers with beautiful pictures of resorts and sunsets, but don’t be fooled. Do all the adequate research before putting any money down on your new timeshare or summer vacation spot. See how many complaints a company has by checking them out with the BBB.
Gone phishin’ for the summer. Though less common in the United States, for those planning to travel abroad: Listen up! With your smart phones out of commission in another country, many of us will search out internet cafés to send emails to family, pay bills & check out Facebook. Do your best to pay all bills before leaving home, and make sure to log off the browser and shut down the computer once you have finished. As added security, consider employing an identity protection service while out of town. They will proactively monitor accounts and send alerts if anything strange occurs.
They’ve got mail. Your mail, to be exact. A common way for a con-artist to capture your personal information is to wait for you to go out of town, and then steal your bills and statements from your mailbox. Luckily there are a few easy fixes if you want to ward off the bad guys, either ask a friend to come by and pick up your mail while you’re away, put a temporary stop on your mail while you’re out of town or invest in a mailbox that you can lock.
Be wary of door-to-door salesmen. They pop up in your neighborhood as soon as the temperatures rise. Whether they are peddling magazines, cheap home repairs, landscaping or meat, BBB advises consumers to be cautious of door-to-door salesmen who use high-pressure tactics and cannot prove they are licensed with the state. Click here to find a trustworthy contractor.
Now that you’ve got the details on the summer’s most popular scams, you can do a cannonball right into summer. For more information about scams and BBB Accredited Businesses, visit wisconsin.bbb.org or call 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee) or 800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin).