Eclipse craze creates opportunities for scammers

Posted at 2:12 PM, Aug 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-08 17:12:37-04

(KGTV) - From flights across the country to nights under the stars, people are splurging on opportunities to see this month's solar eclipse in all its beauty.

Airbnb has exploded with listings promising pristine views of the eclipse, primarily in its path of totality from the Carolinas across the country to Oregon. And people seem ready to shell out hundreds to thousands of dollars for a "front-row" seat.

But with the opportunity have come classic buyer-beware stories.

RELATED: Four planets visible during eclipse on August 21

One thing scammers are trying to cash in on are fake eclipse glasses. Many pairs of glasses offered online have been found to be either counterfeit or not up to safety standards.

The American Astronomical Society offers tips online to make sure viewers are protected while watching the eclipse and also provides reputable retailers selling the glasses.

Some retail locations, including Walmart, 7-Eleven, Best Buy, and Lowe's, are even selling compliant glasses but consumers are advised to call to check if a location is carrying them.

Purchasing glasses that fail to meet safety standards and are not compliant could pose serious injuries to viewers.

Websites like Airbnb and Craigslist have recorded a drastic uptick with eclipse-centric listings over the last month - specifically for locations in the eclipse's path of totality. Experts advise that renters double check their listings and use caution when using credit cards.
This carries over to events and "viewing parties" as well. Online events often crop up around large-scale events such as this and it's always good practice to investigate public events, free events, and private events thoroughly.
NASA is also offering tips to check for events locations online
But for those looking to cash in on a little luck, there are still opportunities to win the view of a lifetime.

A stay in a geodesic dome promises an inspiring stay in Terrebonne, Ore., with the help of National Geographic experts to guide guests along the way. You also get a private jet viewing of the moment.

"You’ll fly for two hours out over the Pacific ocean and then start your return along the Path of Totality, becoming one of very few people to witness the first moments of the eclipse," the listing reads. "If there’s cloud cover (which is pretty likely off the Oregon coast), you’ll also be able to see a reflection of the eclipse on the cloud bank below the plane—a spectacular sight that even the most ardent eclipse chaser might wait a lifetime to witness."

Anyone can enter to win on the Airbnb listing here.