Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman reminded New Yorkers of common scams that occur during the summer and offered tips to protect against abuse.
Scam artists prey during summer months as consumers embark on home improvement projects and plan family vacations.
“As the temperatures rise in the summertime, consumers should proceed with caution in regards to unsolicited offers,” said Schneiderman.
This year, the most common summer scams were related to unsolicited home improvement projects, such as weatherproofing and paint jobs. Other common scams that target consumers include vacation rental and timeshare fraud.
Schneiderman continued to urge consumers who believe they have been victimized by a summer scam to contact the Attorney General's Consumer Complaint Hotline at (800)-771-7755 or online at this link .
Below is the attorney general’s guide to protecting New Yorkers from summer scams:
- The Drive-Bys painting or paving scams. These scammers typically demand a payment upfront and, if they actually finish the job, it probably won't last through the next rainstorm.
- Weatherproofing Scams When a community has been hit by a series of rainstorms, the offers for "free basement inspections” start rolling in. Scammers usually offer an expensive pump or excavating the foundation to waterproof, when the problem was really clogged gutters or a drain blocked by root growth.
- Be suspicious about any unsolicited offer to work on your home. Checkout the contractor with the local Better Business Bureau. Get references, particularly about jobs done a while ago. Use local companies whose addresses you can verify. Get more than one written estimate that includes details about the materials.
- Vacation certificate scams happen when you buy a certificate entitling you to deep discounts on flights, hotels or other vacation opportunities. You are paying in advance for a vacation at an unspecified time. Check to see if the seller is registered with New York State and with the Better Business Bureau for complaints. Check out reviews of the facilities available to the certificate users. Read the purchase agreement carefully, looking for cancellation policies and making note of blackout dates and other restrictions.
- Although a timeshare or vacation club may be a legitimate enterprise, the marketing techniques frequently involve high pressure sales that trap people into long term financial commitments they can't afford and may not use. Firms offer free vacations if you agree to attend a presentation. Potential buyers are offered "discounts" if they sign up "right now" for a multi-year membership. The supposed discounts are frequently more expensive than regular offerings, the advantages and protections offered in the pitch are not the same as what's in the contract, and future costs and fees can escalate without notice.