Welcome back to One for the Money!
Spring break, Easter, Passover they're all coming up. Are you taking off time?
A lot of people rent homes or apartments, instead of staying in hotels because it can be much cheaper.
But savings can lead to scams. Sometimes thieves list other people's homes which are for sale and try to rent them to vacationers.
Imagine showing up and finding the home locked, or an angry owner shows up at the door after you've unpacked?
Not good! And it happens on legitimate travel sites.
Here's how to avoid that:
- Search county property records to see whether the person renting it is the real owner.
- Watch out for places that are way cheaper than other properties in the area.
- Don't pay by Money Gram or Western Union, especially if the owner is not in the U.S.
- Avoid listings with no reviews from other renters.
Also, there are places, including hotels, that aren't what they look like in the pictures. So cross reference reviews on various travel sites. Or your beachfront view could be looking at a duck pond.
Now this next scam affects anyone who shops online, particularly Amazon.
We're getting reports of people calling scammers, when trying to contact Amazon customer service.
Often people will just type the words "customer service number" in a search engine. Well scammers are posting fake phone numbers. And when people call, they're asking for credit card and bank account information. You know what happens next.
To avoid this, go straight to the company's website. And that's for any place you're doing business with.
Also be careful not to mistype because scammers also set up sites that are off by one letter. They look like the real site, but they're not.
And by the way, next week is Consumer Protection Week and we'll be streaming live on Facebook and holding a phone bank Wednesday, warning people of scams and answering their consumer questions.
If you have a question or problem, please Facebook or email me.
And that's One For the Money.