It seems everyone has been talking about the upcoming solar eclipse. It will be visible in Corpus Christi and the surrounding area for about 3 hours, beginning at 11:45 AM on Monday, August 21st.
When excitement builds around a big event -- even one as rare as this -- you can bet that there are those who will look for ways to make a dishonest dollar. According to the Better Business Bureau, it is important to keep your eyes wide open when it comes to scammers.
To keep from being fooled, the BBB advises being on the lookout for:
Fabricated Eyewear. Watch out for counterfeit eclipse glasses. To view the solar eclipse directly without damage to your eyes, you need special solar filter glasses. These are much more powerful than sunglasses. While sunglasses only block about 50% of the sun’s rays, solar filter glasses block more than 99.99%. Unfortunately, many of the solar glasses available online do not meet safety specifications. Your best bet is to stick with a brand whose glasses are certified by NASA and the American Astronomical Society (AAS). To view a list of reputable vendors from AAS go to www.aas.org. Keep in mind that regular sunglasses, even very dark sunglasses, are not enough.
Warn children of the danger in viewing the eclipse without protective eyewear. Also, do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device, and never look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer. The concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Of course, if the filters on your eclipse glasses are torn, scratched, punctured or coming loose from their cardboard or plastic frames, discard them.
Fake Accommodations. If you travel to another state in order to see more of the eclipse and are looking for a place to stay, be careful if you are booking through a site like Airbnb, VRBO, or Craigslist. Make sure to correspond within the website or app and not through other means. Always double-check that a listing is on the real website, and that emails are coming from official addresses. Using a credit card can offer the best fraud protection. Do not deal with anyone who asks for payment outside of the platform’s approved options.
Fictitious Events. Many cities across the path of totality (13 states stretching from Oregon to South Carolina) are holding eclipse festivals with both free events and VIP viewing parties. Scammers may set up fake events or charge people for access to free public parties. To look for eclipse events go to www.NASA.gov and search events.
Faulty Bus Rides. If you plan to travel to one of the states in the path of totality, remember that traffic will likely be very heavy on any road between a major city and the eclipse path. A bus might sound like great option, but be sure to make reservations directly with a bus or limo company to avoid being scammed.
The bottom line: Do your research. Go to www.BBB.org to look for accredited businesses and to read reviews and complaints before you book. Trust your instincts. If something seems too good to be true, it likely is.
Got a question for the BBB? Contact Regional Director Kelly Trevino at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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