Summertime is here! For some, that may mean vacations, travel, and fun and sun; while for others, it may mean plotting scams. Fraudsters can victimize others at any given time, but during the summer months, scam rates coincidingly go up and you need to be careful. Summer sets the stage for scam artists who know you are traveling or perhaps distracted by upcoming vacations and that’s when they set out to scam you. You need to beware of summertime scams that could end up costing you.
Fraudsters spend an enormous amount of time and energy into scamming others to make a profit. Since summer is upon us, here are two of the most common summertime scams, of which you should be aware, that may help you avoid being victimized.
Two Types of Fraud You Can Expect in Summertime
- Contractor Fraud- Summer months may be filled with a lot of sun and glorious weather, but don’t forget that summer also has its share of storms and natural disasters, including flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes. When bad weather hits, you can expect many people will have damage to their homes/business that need to be addressed and that’s where contractor fraud plays a role.
Some fraudsters make a living by “storm chasing”, following a heavy storm or natural disaster, in an effort to steal money without ever following through with their “promised” repairs/replacement. Keep in mind that not all out of town contractors are out to con you, but many are, so you need to beware of anyone who offers a “quick fix.” In an attempt to avoid contractor scams, follow the below tips:
- Contact your local N.C. independent insurance agent to inquire about policy conditions, coverage, and exclusions, when filing the claim.
- Get 2-3 estimates BEFORE agreeing to one contractor.
- Get a written contract BEFORE any work starts and read it thoroughly before signing anything.
- Do your homework to ensure the contractor of choice is reliable and reputable.
- Beware of contractors who show up on your doorstep anxiously wanting to do repairs right away.
- Never let someone you don’t know inspect any damages, especially on the roof, hidden spaces or crawl spaces. Many scammers, while inspecting, can create damage to get work.
- Auto Repair Scams- Especially after Covid-19 bans have been lifted, more people than ever are choosing to travel this summer. Travelling more during the summer months means more miles and time spent in the car which leads to more breakdowns and car accidents. This is where auto repair scams come into play. If you find yourself broken down or involved in a car accident you need to be cautious about getting scammed. Some auto shops con others by selling after-market parts, unsafe parts, and inflating repair costs, not to mention doing work on your car that isn’t even needed. Keep in mind there are ways you can avoid car repair fraud:
- Get 2-3 repair estimates from reputable car repair shops.
- Do your homework on the body shop you choose. You can check the reviews and ratings by searching the BBB (Better Business Bureau).
- Before authorizing repairs, get the complete estimate (in writing) tying down the work being done, cost of parts, and labor. Also inquire if repairs are guaranteed.
- Make sure the auto repair shop employs certified auto mechanics.
- Avoid any shop that uses high-pressure sales pitches or refuses to cooperate.
Summertime should be filled with relaxation, travel, and family vacations without having to worry about being scammed by fraudsters. If you have any questions regarding ways to avoid summertime scams, feel free to contact us at Twin City Insurance and we will assist you. Enjoy your summer!