BBB tips: Don’t let a scam ruin your vacation


Summer is nearly here, which means it is time to start planning for summer vacation. But be careful not to fall victim to travel scams that could result in loss of money or possessions and even identity theft.

Watch what you are posting on social media. Most people know not to post their travel dates on Facebook before they depart, but some still might post pictures of the beach or their hotel room while they are there. This notifies thieves that you are out of town and your house in unattended. You could be in for a big surprise when you return home.

If you are traveling to a big city, beware of pickpockets. They usually work in teams and use all manner of distractions. Keep your stuff in a zipped pouch or pocket, if possible. Don’t carry your wallet or phone in your back pockets.

In foreign countries like Italy and Mexico, there is concern about growth of “doctoring” of ATMs either to trap cash or steal card details. Get your cash inside a reputable bank if you can.

Perhaps the most popular vacation scam happens when you are booking accommodations or flights online. Fake websites appear to offer convenience in booking hotel rooms or discounted prices, but they are really making money for scammers. Some scam sites make money by tacking on additional fees, but others charge you for a room that simply doesn’t exist. In any case, sharing your credit card and personal information puts you at risk for identity theft. Know how to spot these fake websites.

These sites may have the logo of a legitimate hotel or booking site, but that can be easily copied from the real site. Double check the URL of the site before making a purchase. Scammers pick URLs that look very similar to those of legitimate sites. Make sure your personal information is being transmitted on a secure connection. Look out for fake contact information. Also, remember deals that are “too-good-to-be-true” often are.

Don’t fall victim to these travel scams. Go to bbb.org to find accredited businesses that you can trust and always look for the seal.

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