Between family vacations, pool parties with friends, weekends at the beach, and purchasing tickets to ballgames and concerts, summer is often the season of spontaneity. However, be sure to keep your safety top of mind even as you make plans on a whim. While you are picturing a few months of excitement, scammers are doing the same. Read about the top summer scams and what you can do to avoid them.
- Rental Property Scam – Rental scams happen when an alleged property owner misrepresents themselves, a rental home, or the terms and availability of a rental property with fake ads and meaningless responses. Rental prices vary based on many factors such as number of bedrooms, amenities, and location, so always be suspicious of any home, apartment, or vacation rental that is offered at a deep discount.
- Internet Purchase Scam – When you’re buying tickets for a concert, food festival, sporting event, or live performance, be on the lookout for phony sellers, suspicious online marketplace offers, and unsecure third-party websites. Only purchase tickets through verified websites and reselling apps, otherwise you could end up spending money on fake tickets that will never appear in your account.
- Employment Scam – Job scams are a problem in every season, but they appear more often during the summer when teens, college students, and teachers are out of school and searching for seasonal employment. Scammers advertise jobs where legitimate employers would, such as online job boards, hiring websites, or even through TV and radio ads. Remember, a legitimate job will pay you, not the other way around. If an employer requests that you transfer money to their account for any reason, it is likely a scam.
How can you help to protect yourself from these scams?
- Never send money to someone you haven’t met in person. No matter if you believe you are sending money for the deposit on a rental property, a job application or opportunity, or to buy tickets from someone online, you should never send the payment via a money transfer.
- Watch for poorly written correspondence or advertisements that contain misspellings, improper use of language, or unusual formatting.
- Be suspicious of offers that are too good to be true. Always do your research on comparable prices and verify first.
- Be cautious with requests for personal information and unusual payment methods.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to one of these scams and sent money using Western Union, report it immediately by calling your country-specific fraud hotline found here.
Find more information on scams and how to protect yourself by visiting the Western Union Consumer Protection Center.