24 Feb Your Dream Vacation: Nightmares Not Allowed
When you’re busy planning your dream vacation, you probably aren’t thinking about getting scammed. Sadly that’s what happens when people fall victim to one of the many scammers that prey on unwitting travelers. Here are a couple of real-life scams to watch for and learn how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
Book with Care
Travel websites offer great packaged deals, money-saving coupons, and travel deals, taking much of the work out of finding the right flight, hotel, and rental car. It’s important, however, that the travel website you use is a legitimate site that not only offers the options you need for travel but safeguards your credit card and personal information. Here are some tips to look for when choosing a reputable travel website:
- The travel website should have a verifiable contact phone number. For added insurance, call the number and speak with a customer service agent.
- Verify that the website uses advanced encryption through GeoTrust or another security agent to protect sensitive personal data.
- Make sure the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), a travel accreditation agency, certifies the travel company you use. Look for the ARC logo.
Avoiding Common Scams
Tourists are easy to pick out. They ask for directions, they don’t talk or dress like the locals, they stay in hotels and flock to tourist hot spots. Scammers and crooks are experts at taking advantage of travelers and becoming a victim can be the end of your idyllic trip. Read on for some of the latest scams to be aware of and how you can avoid disaster.
The hotel room phone call at midnight is truly inspired. Groggy hotel guests answer the telephone and hear a voice from someone claiming to be from the front desk. The caller explains there is a problem with the guest’s credit card and asks the guest to read the number back for verification. It’s not really the front desk, of course. The caller is a thief trying to trick the guest into handing over credit card information. If you get a midnight call from the front desk, hang up immediately and call the front desk yourself. It’s unlikely that anyone from the front desk would call you at midnight unless there is an emergency and, just like at home, you should never give your credit card number to someone who calls you.
Pizza lovers in Orlando recently fell victim to credit card theft fraud. Guests in hotels near Disney World found pizza menus placed under their doors with a phone number to call for delivery. People who paid with credit cards over the phone not only did not get their pizzas, but they also became victims of credit card theft. The problem is ongoing even though laws in Orlando are now in place to crack down on those who pass out the fake menus. If you want pizza, ask the hotel desk clerk for a recommendation or check the Yellow Pages.