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Get Ready for a Fraud-Free Summer

Summertime is finally here! After a long, cold winter, many of us are looking forward to warm-weather fun and getaways with family or friends. Unfortunately, scammers never take a vacation — they're always ready to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.

Protect yourself from summertime scams with these helpful tips:

#1: Avoid “free" vacation scams

Travel scams pop up every year as summer approaches! You may get an unexpected letter, phone call, email or text message saying you've won an all-expense-paid luxury vacation or cruise. But if you're asked to provide sensitive information or pay a fee to claim your “prize," you're dealing with a scammer, not a trustworthy company. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

#2: Book vacation rentals carefully

Booking a stay in a private home or apartment can be a convenient and budget-friendly alternative to hotels. However, it's important to watch for rental listings that aren't what they seem. Con artists have been known to draw victims in with fake photos, discounts and amenities. Some scammers even list properties that they don't own.

To protect yourself, only use reputable vacation rental services that verify properties and owners, and read reviews from other guests. When you're ready to reserve your stay, pay through the booking company instead of sending money to the owner directly.

#3: Road tripping? Watch for ATM Skimmers

If you're heading out on the road this summer, remember to use caution at unfamiliar ATMs. Criminals can steal credit or debit card information by attaching illegal “skimmer" devices to ATM card readers.   

Here are a few tips for spotting an ATM skimmer:

  • Look for signs of tampering on the ATM, such as broken pieces or sticky glue on any part of the machine.
  • Wiggle the card reader itself. If it feels loose, it might be a skimmer.
  • Look at the keypad. Does it appear raised?
  • When in doubt, find another ATM.

As always, monitor your account statements regularly for any charges you didn't make. Scammers will often “test" stolen card data by charging a few cents at a time, so look carefully.

#4: Use credit cards for travel spending

Credit cards are a smart choice for travel spending because they offer greater fraud protection than debit cards and cash. If your card is accidentally lost or stolen, it will be easier to freeze your account and dispute unauthorized transactions.

If you're planning on traveling internationally, call your credit card company in advance so they know to expect activity from a different country. When you return from your trip, review your statement carefully to spot any suspicious charges.

Scam-Proof Your Summer

You deserve a safe, fraud-free summer! By staying alert and following the steps above, you can steer clear of common scams and enjoy greater peace of mind.

​Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU) has you covered with even more helpful fraud prevention tips, tools and resources! Check out our fraud prevention page to learn about the latest scams and how you can protect yourself against fraud.