If you’re like 65 percent of Americans, planning a vacation means hopping online to peruse travel reviews and discounts. In fact, Expedia found that the average American will search up to 140 travel websites before booking a vacation.
Before you get caught up in the deals, websites and mobile apps available, be aware that a vacation scam could derail your summer getaway. The Better Business Bureau named travel and vacation scams as one of the top-10 riskiest scams in 2017.
Be on the lookout for these vacation scam tip-offs:
Unsolicited Offers — Ignore emails, phone calls or other communications regarding vacation offers from sources you have never done business with or otherwise don’t know.
Unbelievable Deals — Be cautious when you come across an incredible value while planning your next vacation. Consider the average prices you’re finding. If the value price isn’t in line with the lower end of that average price scale, it’s probably a vacation scam. Legitimate offers for otherwise comparable vacation packages or rentals shouldn’t be priced hundreds of dollars differently.
Unidentified Property Names — Be alert of rental listings that don’t specify an exact location or address. Avoid vacation scams like this by verifying every address you do find to ensure that it is legitimate. Criminals may use images from other sites to represent their fraudulent rental properties. You might want to consider doing a reverse image search to spot a counterfeit.
Upfront Payment via Wire — Don’t be fooled by offers that require you to pay in full upon booking your vacation unless it happens to be the same day your vacation begins. Additionally, never agree to wire transfer your payment. Wiring is equivalent to paying cash, neither of which can be traced.
Urgency to Book — Never accept an offer that pressures you to make an immediate selection. A vacation scam may use texts or emails with an urgent message to rush you. Don’t give into this tactic.
Unclear Details — Get all the details of your vacation in writing, and verify the information with the airline, hotel, resort, etc. directly. This should include:
- Your confirmation number(s) and travel dates
- The name, address and phone number of the owner/business
- The cancellation and refund policy
- Every item you’re paying for, from lodging and transportation to excursions, taxes and all other fees
Stay ahead of the scammers that take advantage of vacation seekers like you. Don’t let your pursuit for leisure lower your defenses. Be wise to the vacation scam tip-offs above to ensure the getaway you deserve.
Further protect yourself against fraud and identity theft with these other important travel tips.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of EZShield Inc. alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or entity, including specifically any person or entity affiliated with the distribution or display of this content.