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Originally published: 2014-06-19 15:49:43
Last modified: 2014-06-19 15:50:56

Our View: Summer scams heat up the High Country

The summer season is only beginning to heat up, but already warm weather scammers are at work.

Summertime offers myriad opportunities for play and recreation -- and for individuals with less-than-honorable intentions increased avenues to separate you from your money or possessions.The Top 5 summer scams, according the Better Business Bureau, include:

1. High pressure door-to-door sales. Although most cities and counties regulate such sales, rules don't stop individuals from offering deep discounts on a range of services, such as driveway paving, roof work or air conditioning repair. Before signing on the dotted line, get all promises in writing, research the company and never put your signature on a contract containing an open-ended completion date or blank spaces. Similarly, if the individual selling services or making a claim to be from a public agency doesn't appear legitimate, contact local law enforcement. In Watauga County recently, a resident reported that someone came to her door claiming to be from Skyline. The suspicious resident refused entry and then, after checking with Skyline and discovering the visit was phony, called the sheriff's office.

2. Fake vacations. Those vacation offers from travel agents and websites -- often offering all-inclusive resort or Disney vacations -- which appear to good be true, are. From fake timeshare rentals to falsely promised getaways, these offers ask you to send money, but disappear when the money transfer is complete.

3. Summer concert ticket scams. Similar to the phony vacation offers, it's vital to ensure that the seller is reputable, and not exchanging a nonexistent ticket for your cash.

4. Safe travels. Summer is the optimal time for changing residencies, but before you entrust your valuables to a moving company, check for a legitimate business license. Also good to remember: The lowest estimate on a moving job can sometimes be unrealistic. Get a range of options and compare.

5. Get a summer job. But ensure that you're not wasting your time or money. Many high school and college students look for seasonal employment, but beware of employers who require fees for "training" or background checks. Also, ads which claim "no experience required" could be red flags.