For most of us, summer is a time to relax, take a break and enjoy some fun in the sun. But for scammers, summer is just the start of a busy season of schemes.
With flexible schedules, kids out of school and travel plans on the horizon, scammers know that more people will have their guards down as summer heats up. Avoid getting burned by one of these common summer scams:
#1: Travel Giveaway Scams
Wow, you just won a free luxury vacation! But wait, you didn't enter a sweepstakes or contest — and the “travel company" is asking you to provide your credit card information to claim your prize. What should you do?
Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true,
it probably is. You can't win a contest you never entered, and a legitimate company will not require winners to pay a fee for a prize. If you receive an unexpected email, phone call, or text claiming you've won an all-expense-paid trip,
IT'S A SCAM.
#2: Fake Vacation Home Rental Listings
Vacation rentals are often more affordable than hotels, especially for traveling families. Be careful — con artists advertise rentals that either don't exist, aren't available or look nothing like the attractive online photos. Only use verified vacation rental sites, and read the reviews before booking a property. If the “host" asks you to send them money directly via payment app or money wire,
that's a red flag. Pay through a reputable rental site using a credit card, which offers fraud protection.
#3: Summer Job Scams
Searching for a part-time job for the summer months? Be on the lookout for suspicious employment opportunities. Avoid any job that asks you to use your own accounts to transfer money. This is likely a money laundering scheme.
Before accepting any job offer, research the employer and read reviews. Be very careful about sharing your personal information while job hunting. While an employer will eventually need your Social Security number to verify your identity, they don't need it in the initial application process.
#4: Social Media Oversharing
Think twice before sharing all your summer travel plans online. Local criminals constantly troll social media looking for opportunities to target empty houses - keep your vacation photos to yourself until you return.
Along the same lines, don't post photos of your boarding pass (and certainly not your driver's license or passport). Fraudsters use this information to hack into various accounts and compromise your identity.
Stay Safe This Summer!
As always, be sure to monitor your financial accounts daily, especially if you're traveling somewhere new. Watch carefully for any unusual activity, including very small charges (usually less than a dollar), which could indicate a scammer is “testing" your debit or credit card before making a larger purchase or withdrawal.
If you do find suspicious activity, act with urgency by reporting it immediately. If you're a member, call Wright-Patt Credit Union's Member Help Center at (800) 762-0047 to get help protecting and securing your accounts.
Visit our fraud education and awareness page for more helpful tips, tools, and resources on how to protect yourself every day from fraud.