Hello, summer! It’s the season of flip-flops and ice pops, sun-drenched afternoons, and lazy days at the beach. And, unfortunately, summertime also is prime time for scammers. People are more relaxed, schedules are looser, and vacationers are traveling in unfamiliar locations. All of this can lead people to let their guard down during the summer, and the scammers know it.
Don’t get scammed this summer! Follow these tips to stay safe.
Use a credit card when traveling
A credit card will offer you the most protection in case something goes wrong. You’ll be able to dispute unauthorized charges, and in most cases, reclaim your lost funds.
Check for skimmers at the pump
If you’ll be spending a lot of time on the road this summer and pumping gas in unfamiliar places, it’s a good idea to check the card reader for skimmers before going ahead with your transaction. A card skimmer will read your credit or debit card information, enabling a scammer to empty your accounts. Here’s how to check for a skimmer on a card reader:
- Try to wiggle the card reader; this should dislodge a skimmer if there is one
- Check the keypad to see if it looks newer than the rest of the card reader
- Touch the surface of the keypad to see if it’s raised
Research vacation rentals carefully before booking
With so many vacationers now booking stays at private homes instead of hotels, scamming travelers is easy. All it takes is a few fake photos, a bogus address, and you’ve got yourself a fake vacation rental. In other vacation rental scams, scammers will falsely advertise a rental as a beachfront property when it’s not, claim that it’s larger or more up-to-date than it is, or promise amenities that are missing when you arrive.
Don’t let summertime turn into scam-time. Stay alert, follow the tips outlined above, and stay safe!