Be aware of scammers selling knockoff solar eclipse glasses

CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — We’re just weeks away from this year’s historic solar eclipse. But before you buy your solar glasses or book a hotel room, make sure you’re not getting ripped off.

In just less than 50 days, skies nationwide will darken for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse.

“There’s understandably a lot of excitement surrounding the April 8 Total Solar Eclipse that’s passing through the region,” said Katarina Schmieder, communications director for Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York.

But that excitement could be stolen from you in just a blink of an eye by scammers.

“Scammers are opportunists who will try to cash in on any major event in any way they can. So it’s really important to think of that as you’re preparing for the eclipse,” said Schmieder.

Starting with travel. The Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York says many hotels and short-term rentals are starting to fill up throughout the region, with many traveling here for the historic day. But before you book, do your homework.

“Research the property, make sure that it exists. In some cases, scammers will take images from another source and post those pictures as their own. But if you do a reverse image search, you realize that they came from somewhere else,” said Schmieder.

Also, make sure the physical address exists.

If you plan on viewing the sun during the eclipse, don’t get blinded by fake solar glasses. The Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York says to make sure you purchase authentic solar glasses and not knockoffs.

“Make sure that you’re buying glasses from a trustworthy source. Look into the vendor and manufacturer before you purchase. I know the American Astronomical Society has a list of trusted vendors. If they aren’t on there, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t legitimate, but that’s a place that you can go to look,” said Schmieder.

Also, be cautious when scrolling through social media. Don’t fall for fake advertisements.

“And just make sure it’s a legitimate company promoting a product. If you do some research and find that the company has only existed for a very short period of time that could likely be a scam or trying to cash in on something,” said Schmieder.

When you buy the glasses, look for a message on the inside in small print that says they’ve met the transmission requirement for the ISO. The other side will have instructions.

“If you purchase glasses and you see that they are damaged or punctured or torn, then you don’t want to use those, and you want to make sure that the lenses are actually dark,” said Schmieder.

And if the offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Click here to purchase solar eclipse glasses through the Better Business Bureau.

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