We all want to get the most bang for our buck when planning our vacations, and we all want to find great deals while we are traveling. So, it’s wise to keep an eye out for potential savings or "good deals" on unique items when we’re exploring travel to other states, cultures, and countries, right? The problem, of course, is that scammers know we are looking...and they’re looking for us!
Here are 3 of the most common travel planning scams — and some easy tips to help you or someone you love avoid becoming the next victim!
1. IN THE MAIL: You come home from running errands and grab the mail. In the stack, you see a postcard or “official” looking envelope declaring that you’ve won a luxurious honeymoon to a fun and exotic location.
Why it’s a scam: Often these scams use vague language by offering free airfare, but give no real, concrete information about the trip — and here’s the catch — or the many, many fees you will be required to pay that can often add up to thousands of dollars. In addition, these “free trip” solicitations are often lead-ins to lengthy sales pushes of time-share investments.
How to avoid becoming a victim: If something seems too good to be true, it likely is. Jennifer Karchmer, a staff writer for CNNMoney, says, “Before you pay for any travel package, get all the details in writing, including the total cost and refund policy.” If a company isn’t willing to do this, head for the hills and don’t look back!
2. ONLINE: In this scenario, you receive an intriguing email that invites you to visit a website.
On the site page, you’ll be invited to fill out a form in order to be entered for a chance to win a honeymoon to a popular destination like Florida, the Caribbean, or Mexico.
Why it’s a scam: Magically, when you fill out the form, you will then receive an email congratulating you on being a winner — and prompting you to call an 800 number, at which point you will be asked to give your credit card number to “hold your spot” and claim your prize. You will likely never hear from this company again after that phone call.
How to avoid becoming a victim: Never, never, never give your credit card information over the phone unless you know the company you are dealing with (like your bank, or a company that you make purchases from often and know their track record). First thing I tell my grandma is to never give her information out over the phone to someone who has called her. After working in the financial industry for over 10 year, most legitimate people calling you as an initial call will never ask you for sensitive information, unless they are phishing.
3. OVER THE PHONE: Can I just tell you HOW many times a month I get these phone calls? CRAZY! Your phone rings (usually during dinner) and you are enthusiastically informed that you’ve won a Caribbean honeymoon or family trip. Like the promotional postcard or mailer, the language they use will be intriguing but extremely vague — words like luxury, exotic, five-star, once-in-a-lifetime — and the pressure will be strong to make a decision immediately.
Why it’s a scam: Reputable travel agents do not need to use such heavy-handed tactics. They will gladly outline any details you ask for verbally and in writing. They will take the time to walk you through everything. And they will not ask you for your payment information over the phone on a first call, if ever.
How to avoid becoming a victim: Above all, listen to your gut. If something seems fishy, pay attention to that and confidently say, “No.”
Stay safe when it comes to vacation planning - use an expert! During these times, using a reputable travel agent will always be in your best interest. If you’re looking for the service, respect, and transparency you deserve for YOUR vacation planning, click the link to fill out our "Travel Inquiry Request" form or go to https://www.twingeministravelagency.com/book-consultation to schedule your complimentary travel planning consultation today!
Twin Gemini's Travel Agency specializes in Group Travel, All-Inclusive Vacations, Destination Weddings, Honeymoons, Cruises and more.
Business Number: 732-806-1436
Email Address: Kiesha@twingeministravelagency.com
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