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Kim's column

Summer scams to look out for

Something about the summer seems to coax people into letting down their guard. That’s why some scams seem to rise as fast as the heat.

Now, most people understand by now that no one in Africa is going to pick you and ask you to help them get a $100 million out of their country. So while the Nigerian email scam is yesterday’s news, here’s a look at the latest scams cheating people out of their hard-earned money this summer.

One big way scammers get you is with gift cards. Crooks love them because they cannot be traced and they can’t be recalled once you give them to someone.

How gift cards are used

Two examples: First, the phony vacation rental scam. It’s big right now. Watch out for super-cheap rates for high-dollar rentals and a demand that you pay up front, right now, with
cash or prepaid gift cards.

And this one: If you receive a death threat though email, telling you to pay a fee, again in prepaid gift cards, it’s a scam. But the FBI has taken notice and advises you to call them if you receive one of these emails, because just the threat alone is illegal.

And remember, if something online is too good to be true, it’s a scam.

Listen to Kim’s take on summer scams:

BONUS: Here are some other common summer scams to avoid, and how. 

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