The warmer weather means vacations for many people. However, while you are relaxing poolside, fraudsters are working hard to snatch your money. Here are a couple of scams to beware of during these vacationing months.
Dude, Where’s My Wallet?
If you keep your wallet in a pocket or purse, pay close attention. Pickpockets scout tourist attractions looking for an easy mark. It could be as simple as the thief swiping your wallet from your back pocket or as complex as a two-person job, where one distracts you while the other plucks your wallet from your purse. Here are some tips from How Stuff Works on how to protect yourself:
- Use a money belt
- Bring along a decoy wallet
- Act confident even if you are in a foreign country
- Avoid purses, backpacks and fanny packs
Not the Rental You Wanted
You find a great deal online to rent a summer cabin or condo in an exotic-locale and leap at the chance for an awesome summer getaway. However, when you reach the location, the place doesn’t exist, looks completely different or a bewildered home owner is wondering why you are trying to move into their home. With the endless number of photos on the internet, anyone can grab a photo of a beautiful vacation house and pretend it’s theirs to rent. Before you sign any rental agreement or transfer any payment, ask if you can see the property in person or via a live video through Skype, Facebook and FaceTime.
Staying Safe Against Scams
Scams target anyone at any age. However, you can potentially avoid frauds by:
- Staying up-to-date on the latest scams: Read the news and sign up for scam watches, such as the AARP Fraud Watch Network, which will tell you about new and active fraud attempts happening in your area and around the country
- Research any deals or offers: Performing a quick Google search or visiting the Better Business Bureau can help you decide if it sounds too good to be true
- Keep personal information private: Be wary to whom you give passwords, PINs, and other sensitive information and always shred mail that has personal identifiers
If you believe you or an older adult in your life have been scammed, please seek help. Call your bank if money was taken from your account, notify the local police and contact the National Consumers League’s fraud program at http://www.fraud.org or 1-800-876-7060. You can also submit a report and receive a recovery plan from the Federal Trade Commission or the Senate Special Committee on Aging.