Editorial: Summertime guidance amid scams

Jun. 17, 2014 @ 11:11 PM

Cool breezes rustling through the green, leafy trees are welcome across the mountains. So, too, is salty air and crashing waves along our shores.

Summer brings options on vacations as well as to-do lists at home. Unfortunately, it also breeds criminals in addition to mosquitoes.

It is not uncommon for visitors to our offices to share stories of scammers. Truth is, they’re everywhere all the time. And there are some that come with particular times of the year. Fortunately, entities like the Better Business Bureau and the state attorney general’s office offer guidance.

Timeshare rentals, vacations to theme parks and resort destinations often sound great. And they usually are, but not if there’s a hook in the pitch. If they’re not online at bbb.org with a review, there’s a chance the offer under consideration isn’t legitimate. Use the Internet to see who else might be reporting an entity’s phone number or website.

If the summer means a move, do the homework on any company chosen to help. Ask more details on how binding a quote is, and figure out why an estimate is either too low or too high. There could be a good reason.

More and more, we’re purchasing tickets of various sorts online — concerts, games, the list is long. Make sure of the seller. What unscrupulous sellers can do is sell the same ticket multiple times, since many venues accommodate patrons printing tickets at home. The BBB warns of sellers with a sad tale accompanying why the ticket must be sold, those desiring only cash, money being wired or transferred through a prepaid account or those pressuring quick action. All are red flags.

If the knock on the door is a sales representative, get the deal in writing. Otherwise, a polite no thank you is just fine.

And youth — primarily those of student age — should be careful of potential employers requiring fees for training and background checks or those who say no experience necessary.

The state attorney general’s office takes scam complaints seriously and tracks patterns. Call toll free at (877) 5NO-SCAM, which is also (877) 566-7226.

It is OK to go somewhere this summer; just don’t get taken in.