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Travel scams: Buyer beware

After two years of lockdowns and various restrictions, consumers want to regain a sense of normalcy and naturally “consume.” For many, that means taking a long-awaited vacation. While travel companies are at the ready to map out the dream getaway, consumers should be aware of the strong possibility of scams.

Promotions take the form of personalized invitations, implying that you have been selected out of many to have the dream vacation you have always wanted. However, when it comes to your “award,” the devil is in the details.

Too good to be true?

Scams can take many forms, with countless grifts defining the proverbial “too good to be true” argument.

  • Asking you to cover shipping and handling payment to receive your “prize.”
  • Exclusive use of couriers and wire transfers to send money is a common ruse to avoid credit cards that come with fraud protection and dispute options.
  • Request for financial information that includes bank accounts and even Social Security information is a red flag
  • Asking you to “act now” due to the limited time only offer is a way to put pressure on you not to waste the “opportunity of a lifetime”
  • A low price that is too good to be true and likely implausible as reputable companies will discount in the ten percent range
  • Style over substance with promises of a well-known, luxurious hotel or international airline without providing specifics, including the date and overall price

In the end, these companies only want to empty your wallet without providing what they promised. They appeal to your vanity, an effective strategy that often results in people paying upfront, only to find out that the travel plan was not what it seemed or did not exist at all.