The best prevention for bedbug scams is guarding against infestation. Here's how:
- Never bring secondhand furniture, especially mattresses or box springs, into your home without thoroughly checking for signs of an infestation. If you're not sure, consider having a pest control professional inspect the furniture.
- When traveling, carry a small flashlight to inspect beds for blood spots or insect carcasses.
- Bring a large plastic trash bag to keep your suitcase in during hotel stays—that way, the bugs won't be able to hop a ride home with you.
- Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation.
- Regularly inspect areas where pets sleep for signs of bedbugs.
Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life (AARP Books/Sterling).