Things to avoid during summertime: ticks, sunstroke, speeding tickets and scam artists. The U.S. government wants to help you with that last one.
According to USA.gov, summer brings its own unique consumer challenges. But if you follow their tips, you can minimize the damages:
1. Don’t buy gas additives that claim to increase fuel mileage. Even though gas prices go up in the summer, the Environmental Protection Agency has not found any product that significantly improves gas mileage, and some could damage a car’s engine or increase exhaust emissions.
2. Unlicensed home repair or landscaping contractors may come to your door to offer services. Always research contractors, pay for services upon completion – not ahead of time – and consider using a signed contract outlining the work to be done and the exact price.
3. Interested in a summer concert or festival? If you buy tickets from a major vendor, remember surcharges and additional fees may be tacked onto the listed price. Some venues require the same credit card used to purchase tickets be presented when the tickets are picked up, so if you’re buying tickets for someone as a gift, they may have difficulty getting them at will-call.
4. When renting a beach or lake house for vacation, make sure the property actually exists. Do your homework before paying – check out the owner or rental company, consult maps and read the lease carefully. Pay with an online payment service or a credit card so you can dispute the charges if something goes wrong.
5. When flying, make sure you’re aware of the airline’s baggage charges and their policy when it comes to bumping passengers. A lot of airlines “bump” depending on how late you checked in, so check in ASAP!”
Believe it or not, #4 has become an all-too-common scam afflicting summer vacationers. If a summer rental opportunity seems too good to be true, it very likely is.
We would also add that scam artists often find out you are out of town from the messages you leave on social media sites. So be careful; don’t share your plans for an upcoming vacation in places where strangers can access the information.