Holiday Rental Scams are Not on Your Wish List

Holiday Rental Scams are Not on Your Wish List

There is expected to be over 115 million people traveling this holiday season. If you and your family are in the same boat (or plane or car or train), please be aware that holiday rental scams are abundant and there isn’t any hope that they are going away anytime soon.

If you are renting a vehicle and/or housing for the holidays, here are some important tips to keep in mind:

– A legitimate rental company will not ask you to prepay for a rental with a gift card or prepaid debit card. Research the rental company’s name along with terms such as ‘scam’ ‘reviews’ and ‘complaints.’

– Be aware that rental listings can be hijacked and fake. The contact information can be changed and the listing could be re-posted on many different sites and occasionally list properties that don’t actually exist. Search online for the actual rental location’s address along with the name of the property owner or rental company. If other ads come up for the same address, the listing has most likely been hijacked. If your request to check out the property first before agreeing to rent is met with the owner or rental company saying they are “not available” or “out of the country,” and they insist on you paying an application fee and deposit first, check around for a new place to spend the holidays.

– Do not consider paying by a payment app, such as Venmo or PayPal. Instead, pay by credit card which will give you the best protection and make it easier for you to get your money back if it is a scam.

For more information on how to keep your holidays happy and fraud-free, check out this blog.

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).

Source: AAA and Federal Trade Commission

Photo credit courtesy: Osman Rana via unsplash.com

 

 

Consumers Lost Nearly $8.8 Billion to Scams in 2022

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently released data showing that consumers lost over $8 billion to scams in 2022. This massive loss is an increase of more than 30% compared to 2021.

The majority of the crimes came from investment scams ($3.8 billion) and imposter scams ($2.6 billion). Online shopping scams were more commonly reported of the 2.4 million fraud reports from consumers. The FTC also noted that the highest reported losses came from social media, and then followed by phone calls with the highest per person median loss of $1,400. Learn more HERE.

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to protect you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827.

 

The Top Scams of 2022

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a United States federal agency that works to prevent deceptive, fraudulent and unfair business practices. Their first objective is to identify fraud that cause the greatest consumer injury. Their second objective is to stop the fraud, deception and unfair practices through law enforcement. Finally, their third objective is to prevent consumer injury from happening in the first place through education.

Every year the FTC reports the top scam highlights of the previous year. This is how 2022 stacked up:

– Investment scams had the largest losses at $3.8 billion. Investment scams promise that you will make a lot of money quickly, easily and with low risk. The FTC reported that these scams involve the investment in financial or real estate markets. Learn how to research investment opportunities HERE.

– Impersonator scams were, once again, the most reported scam. Losses from these scams total $2.6 billion for 2022. The FTC reported that the major difference in this type of scam from the previous year is that there were higher losses to business imposters to the tune of $660 million in comparison to last year’s $453 million. Scams in this category include social security, IRS, romance, caregiver, family emergency, tech support and grandchild scams. Learn how to identify a scam happening to you or a loved one by viewing the short videos HERE.

How were scams identified and processed? Some losses were through bank transfers. Others started on social media and phone calls. Young adults in their 20s reported losses more often than seniors in their 70s. Unfortunately, the seniors lost more money than any other age group.

The FTC has a PDF available for download with a visual snapshot of the top frauds of 2022. Click HERE to learn about the rest of 2022’s top scams and view the PDF.

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to protect you, your family and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827.

Student Loan Scams Are On The Rise

Student Loan Scams Are On The Rise

On August 24th, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the one-time federal student loan debt relief plan. While the forgiveness plan is designed to help many low and middle-income families, we are now seeing an increase in scams that have the potential to hurt them badly.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests some ways to avoid being a victim of a student loan scam:

Never pay an up-front fee. Companies that charge you before they help you are breaking the law. Don’t fall for the ads that promise to help you with student loan debt. If you have federal loans, go to the Department of Education at StudentAid.gov.

Don’t sign up for quick loan forgiveness. Even though they might say they can wipe out your loans by disputing them, they can not.

Don’t trust a Department of Education seal. Even though it might look like an official seal and logo, it likely isn’t.

Don’t rush. Scammers will ask you to act fast so you don’t “miss” qualifying for repayment plans, loan consolidation or forgiveness programs.

Don’t provide your FSA ID to anyone. This is your private information and can be used to steal your identity.

The FTC also stressed that there is nothing a company can do for you that cannot do yourself for free. Again, if you have federal loans, start with StudentAid.gov/repay. If your loans are private, contact your lender directly.

To learn more about the debt relief plan from the U.S. Department of Education, click HERE.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Member Services immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.GUARD (4827).

 

Photo courtesy credit: Muhammad Rizwan via unsplash.com.