Roadways and airways are about to get a little crowded as we enter peak travel season for the holidays. The American Automobile Association (AAA) reports that Americans drive the most during the fall months, October through December, at 31.5 miles daily.
As travelers make their plans for family getaways, scammers are also planning — but on ways to make a buck off others’ misfortune. In a little more than a year, two dozen travel scams have been reported by consumers on Better Business Bureau Serving the Northwest’s Scam Tracker, resulting in nearly $24,000 lost by victims.
To help travelers have a happy holiday, BBB warns of these common travel scams and how to avoid them.
- Hoax sites: Many travel websites appear to be legitimate. But once a vacation is booked the business ceases conversation with the customer. It’s best to book with a company that shows a good track record of appeasing its clients. Find a reputable travel business by searching bbb.org.
- Be Wi-Fi Wise: Avoid using public Wi-Fi, including hotel internet access, for online banking or other financial account management. With just a click of a button, fraudsters can easily create fake Wi-Fi hubs, then gain access to personal information and passwords.
- Hotel Tricks: It’s common for hotels to call and check in with guests shortly after they arrive, but be on guard if the caller asks for personal information, like credit card info, to finalize check-in. Never give out financial information over the phone. Instead, visit hotel management in person.
- Vacation Rentals: Watch for fake rental listings and too good to be true deals. Scammers can hijack legitimate online listings and make it look like their own. Deal directly with the property owner or manager and be sure to verify the property exists by researching online.
- Delivery coupons. These deals are usually slid under the hotel door and can be enticing for busy travelers who need a quick bite to eat. The trick comes when a customer calls to place the order and is asked to give credit card info over the phone. Don’t do it! Check with the front desk before placing an order to ensure the restaurant is real or offer to pay when the meal is delivered.
- Easy on the selfies. Avoid blasting on social media that everyone in the house is away. This makes it all too easy for burglars to locate an empty house available for them to rob. Save the Facebook album for after the trip is over.
To learn more about safe traveling visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Travel Scams website. Report travel scams to local law enforcement and at BBB.org/scamtracker.