WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Summer is here.
Sandy Gamby, Interim CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Coastal Carolina, is warning you about the hottest scams of the season.
Gamby said popular summer scams include:
"Job scams come in many forms," Gamby advised. "It could be a fake ad listed on an online classifieds site, an email claiming you can make money working from home or as a secret shopper. The job sounds very convincing, especially if you're told the job is guaranteed."
Scammers will charge upfront fees for services or training materials. They will claim they can guarantee job placement after you pay; however, the promised job never materializes and the company does not return your calls. If you need to pay first to get the job or have to provide your credit card or bank account number, that's a red flag.
Gamby recommends you research before moving forward. She also said do not pay upfront fees.
Better weather brings door-to-door solicitors. Before they come knocking, have a plan in place to deal with them.
"Though many door-to-door salespeople operate honestly and represent reputable businesses, there are others who are only looking to make a sale and move on as quickly as possible - often leaving consumers wondering if they'll receive the product or service they've paid for or if they've just been scammed," Gamby wrote.
Here is what Gamby recommends you do to make sure you aren't the victim of a scammer:
- Inquire about licensing. Many cities require door-to-door salespeople to have a solicitor's license. Ask the salesperson if they’ve checked in with the city and obtained proper licensing. If you’re unsure if your city requires a permit, contact your city offices.
- Ask for identification. A reputable seller will provide you with all of the information you request, including a photo ID and a business card.
- Verify the individual and the business. If you’re interested in doing business with the solicitor, get everything in writing. Tell the solicitor you will look into it and get back to them. Research the business and contact them directly to verify the salesperson is an employee. Be sure to research the business at bbb.org.
- Read the contract. Make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions before signing a contract. Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics and be aware that anything you sign could be viewed as a contract.
- Know your rights. The Federal Trade Commission’s Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule gives the customer three days to cancel purchases over $25 that are made in their home or at a location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business. Along with a receipt, salespeople should also include a completed cancellation form that customers can send to the business to cancel the agreement. By law, the business must give customers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.
Several people in our community have been targeted by this scam. Scammers will call you pretending to be representatives of the IRS. They will tell you that you owe money and order you to pay immediately.
Gamby said the IRS will never call you and demand immediate payment. You will receive a letter in the mail asking you to visit the local office.
Many of you want to help the victims and the family members of those who were killed in the Orlando nightclub massacre. However, some scammers will prey on your generosity.
Gamby said be cautious when making donations. Her advice below:
- Research. Take the time to check out the charity to avoid wasting your generosity by donating to a questionable or poorly managed effort. The first request for a donation may not be the best choice. Be proactive and find trusted charities that are providing assistance.
- Find out how finds will be used. Watch out for vague appeals that don’t identify the intended use of funds. For example, how will the donations help victims’ families? Also, unless told otherwise, donors will assume that funds collected quickly in the wake of a tragedy will be spent just as quickly. See if the appeal identifies when the collected funds will be used.
- Be cautious on online donations. Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in texts or emails. These may take you to a lookalike website where you will be asked to provide personal financial information or to click on something that downloads harmful malware into your computer. Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs or other social media have already been vetted.
Wednesday on WECT News First at Four, Gamby is joining us on the show to talk in detail about these scams and how to protect yourself.