As COVID-19 regulations loosen, criminals are looking for ways to take advantage of eager travelers through travel scams. From fraudulent hotel offers or cruise ship trips, to packages with upfront payments required as “free”, here are some warning signs you should keep an eye out for when planning your vacations.
1. Discounts Based on Percentages.
It’s no coincidence: many of the best hotel offers are calculated in percentage terms, which can be deceiving when applied to travel. Prices fluctuate with each season or day of travel and an impressive percent-off deal might become worthless without understanding its real impact on price changes – this is particularly important when purchasing vacation packages, where resort fees or airline baggage charges might not have been included as initial per-person estimates from online travel agencies.
2. Slender Details and Unavailable Reviews. If a travel package seems too good to be true, chances are it is. Despite promises of five-star accommodations or luxury hotel add-ons, its true cost may come out in hidden costs that eat into your overall satisfaction quickly. Likewise, steer clear of cruise offers promising onboard amenities such as stocked refrigerators or room service menus as these gimmicks often prove unnecessary – leading to disappointment!
3. Prepaid Vacation Certificates. Its Another travel scam to watch out for involves “prepaid vacation certificates”, or gift cards offering discounted or complimentary stays at specific hotels. Usually, scammers behind such offers claim affiliation with one of these hotel chains, only for them to stall when redeeming your voucher by saying rooms have sold out or require costly additional fees to book rooms – leaving your voucher worthless and you out the money spent buying it!
4. Phony Verification Call.
A common way for fraudsters to steal your credit card details is contacting you shortly after booking a hotel stay and pretending to be from the front desk, asking you to verify your details over the phone. This is almost always an attempt at fraud and it is always wise not to provide your number over the phone.
If you’re planning a bundled vacation, remember that reputable travel websites will offer plenty of details about your booking before you purchase. Checking the Better Business Bureau website to gather more information about their track record – such as current ratings, reviews, complaints and alerts; how long they have been in business as well as whether identity theft or other fraudulent activities have occurred may also provide important insight. Alternatively, NerdWallet reviews the top travel sites provide more in-depth analysis into pricing inclusions and features of each travel provider.