Scam-Free Vacations

Posted by Susan Dupre on 5/23/2019

In her article Make It a Scam-Free Vacation, Lisa Lake from the Federal Trade Commission offers steps to prevent your dream vacation from becoming a nightmare.

First: Do your homework.

  • In addition to getting recommendations from family and friends, do some online research on travel companies, hotels and agents with the words scam, review, or complaint. 
  • Consider extra costs.  Resort fees and taxes can add $50 or more to a nightly hotel cost.
  • Before you book, read the cancellation and refund policies for any destination.
  • Only buy travel insurance from a licensed agent.
  • Bring a copy of the trip confirmation details, including the rate and extras you were promised.

Second: Be travel smart.

  • Don't pay for "prize" vacations. No real company will ask you to pay for a prize--and be careful about booking with a resort or timeshare offer, which may include the need to pay taxes or fees, plus high-pressure sales pitches. 
  • Don't sign anything until you know what you are getting.
  • Use a credit card, which gives you more protection than paying with cash or a debit card.

Third: Protect your identity.

  • Take only the IDs and credit/debit cards you really need.  Also, make copies of these, too, and carry the copies in a separate location so that you can more easily report lost or stolen cards.
  • Bring a copy of your insurance card. 
  • Don't assume a Wi-Fi hotspot in a hotel, restaurant, or airport is secure. Avoid using mobile apps that require personal or financial information or use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service.