Summer is a time for fun, whether you are on vacation or just relaxing at home, but scammers will come after you no matter where you are. Follow these five tips to stay safe.
Never pay for a “prize” vacation. So you won an all-expense-paid trip to Aruba? It might sound like a dream come true, but if you follow through, you could be caught up in a scam. If you are asked to pay even a small fee to claim a free vacation prize, you are looking at a scam. A legitimate company will never ask winners to pay a fee for a prize.
Use a credit card when traveling. Your SeaComm Visa® offers you the most protection in case something goes wrong. You will be able to dispute unauthorized charges, and in most cases, reclaim your lost funds. Click here to learn more.
Ignore celebrity messages. Celebrities might have a direct line with the public through their social media platforms, but don’t believe a private message appearing to be from your favorite movie star, singer or athlete. A direct message from a celeb asking for money for a charity or claiming you have won a prize, but need to pay a processing fee, is a scam.
Check for skimmers at the pump. If you will be spending a lot of time on the road this summer, and pumping gas in unfamiliar places, it’s a good idea to check the card reader for skimmers before going ahead with your transaction. A card skimmer will read your credit or debit card information, enabling a scammer to access your money. Here’s how to check for a skimmer on a card reader:
- Try to wiggle the card reader; this should dislodge a skimmer if there is one.
- Check the keypad to see if it looks newer than the rest of the card reader.
- Touch the surface of the keypad to see if it’s raised.
Click here for more information on card skimming, provided by the Federal Trade Commission.
Research vacation rentals carefully before booking. With so many vacationers now booking stays at private homes instead of hotels, scamming travelers is easy. All it takes is a few fake photos and a bogus address to create a fake vacation rental. In other vacation rental scams, scammers will falsely advertise a rental as a beachfront property when it’s not, claim that it’s larger or more up-to-date than it is or promise amenities that are missing when you arrive.
Before booking a vacation rental, read the reviews left by previous guests. If there aren’t any, or they don’t sound authentic, you’re likely looking at a scam. You can also look up the address of the rental to see if it in fact exists and if the location matches the description in the listing. As another precaution, you can ask the owner for more details about the property just to see their reaction; if they sound vague or uneasy, it’s likely a scam.
Make sure to utilize your Benefits Plus® membership as a way to protect yourself from fraudulent activity! Once you have upgraded your basic checking account to a Benefits Plus® checking with SeaComm, you will gain access to a variety of identity theft protection services including fraud alerts, identity theft alerts, and more. If your identity has been compromised, a Benefits Plus® representative will assist in filing police reports and contacting all credit bureaus, as well as utility companies on your behalf. Stop by your local SeaComm branch to upgrade your checking account.
For complete information, terms, conditions and exclusions please visit www.benefits-plus.org or call 866-329-7587.