Getting a good travel deal is always a nice feeling—but sometimes it is too good to be true. As the weather gets warmer and people start traveling more, certain scams become more prevalent. Learn the signs of three popular travel scams so you can keep your money safe and enjoy a relaxing vacation.
If you receive a text, phone call, email or letter regarding a free or incredibly cheap vacation to an exotic destination, it is probably a scam. The messaging will usually mention that you won this vacation, even though you never entered a contest. If you respond to this offer, fraudsters will make you pay fees and service charges, quickly making the “deal” expensive.
House Rental Hoax
Oftentimes scammers will make low-priced listings on popular vacation rental company sites. The scammers will try to take the deal off the site, sometimes by offering an additional discount if you pay through a different third-party site. If you complete the transaction, when your vacation date arrives, the address you’ve been given does not usually exist, and you have lost your money.
Fraudsters will create fake websites that have heavily discounted airline tickets, usually posing as legitimate airlines. After booking, the scammers may contact you saying that your flight was canceled and then proceed to require a rebooking fee to get you on a different flight. In other instances, you will show up for a flight and there is no record that your ticket and/or flight exists.
Signs of a Travel Scam
Although all three travel scams are different, they all have a lot in common. First off, all these scams begin with the search for a bargain. While there are good deals that actually exist, it is important to do your research before entering any personal or financial information for something too good to be true.
- Unnecessary Fees- Fraudsters will draw you in with a great deal and then scam you into paying extra. Do not pay until you understand the terms of the deal regarding the cancellation and refund policies.
- Third-Party Payment Methods- Scammers will ask you to pay via wire transfer or by leaving the website for a different online payment platform. Pay for vacation with a credit card and make sure you stay on the trusted website.
- Fake Site- Fraudsters will create fake sites to try and scam you. Confirm the “s” in “https” for security and make sure the domain is correct and that there are no misspellings in the URL.
- Lack of Reviews- Since fraudsters create fake sites, make sure you research the companies you are using and see what other people have to say about them. If you can’t find any information about it online or the reviews are bad, rethink your decision.
- Urgency to Respond- Fraudsters commonly try to rush you into completing a transaction before you can catch on and ask questions. Never let anyone pressure you into agreeing to a deal too quickly.
Understanding that these popular travel scams exist and their specific warning signs is a great step to avoiding them. Remember to check your bank statements regularly, especially during summer vacation, to make sure that all the charges you are receiving are correct. Finally, if you have questions or concerns about any of your Needham Bank accounts, call 1-781-444-2100 or your local branch as soon as possible.