After a snowy and rainy winter, you may be looking to escape to a warmer climate for summer vacation. And guess what? The scammers know that and hope to “cash in” on your travel plans.
Travel scams come in many forms; emails, cold calls, social media, even submit or play to win drawings. Many scam artists will send you the same fake deals through both email and text.
Before you book that discounted hotel room, car rental, or flight reservation, review these tips from the Federal Trade Commission:
- Say no to robocalls. If you answer your phone to an automated message, hang up and block the number.
- Research a company before booking with it. Look up reviews and ratings to see if other customers were satisfied with the services. And check multiple sites, fraudsters can post fake online reviews.
- Know the cancellation policy. Before booking, take time to ask about the company’s refund policies for flight reservations, car rentals, and hotel bookings. And get these policies in writing.
- Requests to pay with a gift card, cashier’s check, or a cash app are red flags, the ad may not be legitimate.
- Your best protection is to pay with a credit card. This will give you more options to get a refund than if something goes wrong.
- And finally, even if you are desperate for that vacation break, remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you believe you have been the victim of an online scam, report it to the FBI’s Internet Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.