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Scam Alert

4 Scams Aimed at Movie Fans

Fraud, burglary among latest cons victimizing film buffs during the summer blockbuster season

Film fans and movie buffs, take note: As summer blockbuster season approaches, you don’t want to play the starring role as a victim of one of these latest scams.

1. Burglary while you’re at the theater. It’s the latest trend in home break-ins: Crooks wait in movie theater parking lots. Once people go inside to watch a flick, these crooks break into cars — specifically to glean addresses from vehicle registrations. With at least a two-hour window of opportunity, these criminals then burglarize the victims’ homes.

Your defense: Keep your vehicle registration, as well as your GPS and other valuables, in a locked glove compartment — or carry them with you.

2. Library card fraud. You know that the local library can be a great place to enjoy DVD movies (as well as CDs and books) on the cheap. But did you know you should guard your library card as you do your credit cards? Here’s why: With your lost or stolen library card, crooks can “borrow” those items en masse for their own entertainment or a quick sale on an online auction or street corner — leaving you responsible with late fees or replacement costs. One New York law student discovered she was victimized when she received collection notices demanding $200 for 12 unreturned DVDs. Her library card was pulled from the garbage and then used to make unauthorized checkouts. The student then had a hassle-filled venture to restore her credit history. One librarian reported that she’s seen some patrons charged up to $2,000 for “overdue” materials.

Your defense: If your library card goes missing, immediately contact the library to put a hold on your card, just as you would with other “credit” accounts. Most libraries hold you financially responsible for unreturned items checked out on your card.

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