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Eat, drink and be wary

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Looking for a good time and good eats at a good price? Getting a deal on a food festival or other event is terrific. But don’t let scammers leave a bad taste in your mouth by taking a big bite out of your money — and giving you nothing in return.

While there are many legitimate festivals advertised online, we’ve read news reports and consumer complaints about scam artists who promote fun-and-food-filled days of crab feasts, concerts and similar events on social shopping sites. People buy the tickets, but when they show up at the so-called venue, they find nothing there but other victims of this ruse.

Here are ideas on how to spot and avoid food fest flim-flams:

  • Check it out. Type the name of the festival and/or its promoters in your search engine along with the words “scam,” “fake,” or “fraud.” If you see others have been scammed, there’s a great chance you will be, too. If the event has taken place in other towns, search for online reviews.
  • Look for contact information… and be sure it actually works.  Is there any contact information on the website? If there’s an email or phone number, try them out. If they don’t work, if you don’t get a response within a reasonable time, or if you don’t like the response, forget it. Don’t share your card number or any other information.

Whenever you buy products and services — online or off — learn to keep yourself safe from scammers. And file a complaint with the FTC if someone tries to gobble up your money with a fake offer.

This article by the FTC was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

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