NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Most of these summer scams are nothing new, but con artists will often mix it up using technology. The Better Business Bureau helps us break down the top five summer scams to help you save time and money.
Summer scam #1: Vacation scams
Whether you're just headed to a Gulf Coast beach or to an overseas destination, the BBB's Cynthia Albert says be cautious if you get an offer over the phone or through email and it seems inexpensive.
"It'll cover the room, the airfare, everything, and then they say but you know, if it's out of the country you do have to pay taxes and the handling fee that we have to do. We of course employ people so they tell them to send x amount of dollars up front, and what happens is they never have the vacation," Albert explains.
A Metairie consumer who financed a vacation plan through a national resort rental company the FOX 8 Defenders exposed over several years told us he was never able to book a single trip through them. "I tried, and I always hit blockades.. 'oh that week is booked or that whole resort for that week is booked,'" Joe Genovese said.
Albert says always research the company you're dealing with, look for complaints consumers may have filed against the company and look to see if those complaints have been resolved. You can do a quick search online through the BBB. Another red flag to watch for is if the person reaching out to you becomes harassing by calling or emailing over and over.
Summer scam #2: Moving scams
Whether you're starting a new job, just bought a new home, or maybe moving your child into a college apartment, choosing the right mover is important. If the moving company gives you an estimate over the phone, and says it does not need to do inventory of your furniture in person, the BBB says move on.
"Usually what happens in a situation like that, it's real cheap, or you think it is, and then when the move is over, then they will hold your furniture hostage until you give them a lot more money, and it has happened here," Albert said.
Once again, do your homework and research the company. The BBB says you want a mover to visit your home or business to do inventory because they'll need an idea of how big your furniture is and how many movers it may require. Also, it's a good idea to get a few quotes and compare.
Summer scam #3: Concert scams
Watch out especially for phony sellers who approach you through email. The con artists often trick consumers into wiring money or paying cash for tickets that they will send you. The tickets often look authentic, but may not be real.
"You definitely have to go to the source. If it's entertainment, which is a very good thing to do, find out the schedule of that band, and if they're in that area that they say they're gonna be, then that's a good sign.. but if they're some place else, forget it," Albert said. Not only should you check the band's schedule, you should also check the details with the advertised venue.
Summer scam #4: Door-to-door sales scams
There are many, but the BBB says the biggest one involves security alarm systems. Just last month, consumers in Mid City reported a suspicious door-to-door alarm salesman in their neighborhood, referencing recent shootings in the area. "I did ask if he could leave information, and he said he would come back and leave something at the door and did not come back," resident Therese Fitzpatrick said.
"If they see a sign in your yard, they'll knock on your door and usually what they do is they say they're with that particular company, and they try to scare people and say they understand that you have an older unit and they need to upgrade you. What they do is they get you to sign a contract, they take the old unit out and they put theirs in so actually you're dealing with a whole different company, and it's usually inferior," Albert said.
Research the company to make sure they are who they say they are, and before you agree to anything, get verbal promises in writing. Albert stressed, don't let anyone in your home even if they show you credentials because they may be fake.
Summer scam #5: Job scams
The BBB says be wary of employers who require fees for training or if they mail you a check in advance before day one on the job. "Then they call you or they email you and say we really made a mistake, we know you really want this job and we made the check for say $500 more than what it should have been could you wire that back to us?" Albert explained. But when you wire the $500 back, she said they get your good money, and you get nothing because the check is likely counterfeit.
The FOX 8 Defenders staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women also field consumer complaints at 1-877-670-6397 or you can fill out an online complaint form.