3 scams making a comeback this summer

HOUSTON – What is old is new again, even when it comes to scams. Con artists recycle old tricks when they work well, to get more victims to give up their hard-earned money. 

Consumer expert Amy Davis has an alert about scams duping Houstonians lately. 

These are scams people have warned about in previous years, but in the last two weeks, there has been an uptick in emails about three in particular. 

The home rental or sale scam

Scammers steal real estate photos online of properties for sale. They then create their own listings as if they are the owners. Potential buyers or renters send deposits and down payments, only to learn later that the person they gave their money to is not the real owner. Unfortunately, by the time they realize something is wrong, their money is gone.

Before sending any money for a home that is for sale or lease, meet the owner at the home. Ask the seller in person if you can take a picture of their ID. If they're legitimate, it shouldn't be a problem.

The electric or gas scam

This scam usually targets small business owners. They answer a call supposedly from the gas or electric company warning them they owe money. The caller says that if they don't pay in a matter of hours, using a gift card, their power or gas will be shut off.

Take the time to hang up and call your gas or electric company directly at the number on your bill, not the number provided by the caller. 

The federal grant money scam

This scam employs a phone call or email telling you that you can get a government grant to help you through a difficult time. The scammer explains you have to pay a smaller amount up front for processing. Once you give the gift cards they ask for, you never get anything in return. The scammers will request the number on the back of the card and then they drain that gift card. 

If you think these scams sound ridiculous and that you would never fall for them, good for you. If you have an elderly parent or neighbor, you may be able to save them from making a bad decision by sharing this information with them.