BBB’s Top Summer Scams of 2014 in North Alabama

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The Better Business Bureau of North Alabama has released the 2014 Top Summer Scams.

For scammers, summer is a prime time to target those who let their guard down. With a heads up, they hope you don't let any scam ruin your vacation.

While you're planning the perfect trip, scammers are making sure it's just the opposite. First on the top scam list, beware of fraudulent travel agents and fake timeshare rentals.

Michele Mason is President at the BBB in North Alabama. She says timeshare owners are big targets during the summer.

"Be careful about someone who claims to have a guaranteed buyer, and then has you sign a contract, pay a fee, and then the contract does not guarantee that that unit will be sold," says Mason.

When it comes to booking a vacation, when it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

"Watch out for any promotion that sounds like a great deal on the surface, but once you dig into it could cost you more money than the benefit you get from it."

Summer is a prime time for fake travel agents. Customers may get calls from someone pretending to be an agent, and then invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in a travel membership thinking they are going to get huge discounts in travel.

Mason says that's a scam the BBB has seen growing in the Valley. "Once they book their travel through the program, then compare with what they can find online, they haven't saved anything."

Another major summer scam on the list, fake ticket sales for concerts or sporting events. Summertime is when many people travel out of state for concerts. It's also the time mant college football fans look into buying next season's tickets.

A good question to ask yourself as a buyer is 'does the seller have a good reputation?'.
If so, Mason said it's safer to avoid cash only deals and transferring money.

"When you're looking for these sales online, you might find some great deals, or great sounding deals. But someone can copy an image from some one else's page, and then be selling tickets that really aren't even in their hands."

To prevent losing your money, use protected payment services to make sure  you don't end up spending money and then have nothing to show for it. Use a site with a protection in place against fraudulent sellers, like StubHub or Ticketmaster.

Summer is also the peak time of year for moving. The Better Business Bureau wants you to beware of unlicensed movers and crooks.

The best way to avoid these scams all together, check with the BBB beforehand, they do the research for you.

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