Vacation time is fast approaching, and con artists are gearing up. Beware of these four indicators that a travel “deal” is actually a rip-off:
- You can be a travel agent. A fraudster promises free trips and discounted hotel rates if you become a travel agent. They may even send course materials (for a fee, of course). Don’t fall for it. That “certification” won’t convince airlines and hotels to grant you special treatment.
How to avoid: If you want facts about becoming a travel agent, contact professional organizations such as the International Association of Travel Agents. It’s a career path, not a ticket to freebies.
- Advance payment required — without a contract. A friendly telemarketer cons you into paying for a vacation over the phone with your credit card. Without a signed contract you don’t know what you’re actually buying. Don’t plan to win in court.
How to avoid: Never surrender your credit card or banking numbers over the phone. Demand details in writing. Always.
- “Limited Time Offer.” Some legitimate airline and hotel offers are time-sensitive. But beware of sales representatives requiring immediate payment, especially for departure dates 60 days or more in the future. It’s a red flag. Many banks set a 60-day time limit for disputing credit card charges.
How to avoid: Contact airlines and hotels directly to find last-minute deals. Hang up on high-pressure sellers.
- Bait and switch. A scam artist touts a great deal at the luxury beach hotel. But guess what? The rundown hotel is located 10 miles from the beach. If you want an upgrade, you’ll be charged a fee.
How to avoid: Book with hotels directly. Determine where they’re located before you travel. Check online reviews for complaints.
With the year we’ve all experienced, we could all use a vacation. Please plan and travel safe! Have questions on financial planning for an upcoming vacation or other life events? Our team can help! Don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule time with our financial professionals: https://www.bas-pc.com/appointment-center