Memorial Day is around the time when summer begins in the United States, and hence, many people make plans to travel around this time. When making vacation plans, you’ll notice that there are numerous offers and discounts being offered by companies across the world. However, travel plans during Memorial Day will also see many travel scams.
Before you jump in and pay for one of these offers, take a little time to find out whether it is genuine or not. At this time of the year on Memorial Day, there are plenty of travel scams going around are well. Just as you are making travel plans, scammers are making their plans too.
So, before you pay for a deal that does not exist, here are 5 scams that you should keep an eye out for.
“Free” vacation deals
Very rarely will you actually get a fully-paid vacation trip. Therefore, many of the “free” vacation offers you find are most likely scams. You’ll sign up for one thinking it’s completely free only to find out when you reach your destination that there are a lot of other charges which need to be paid before you check into your hotel. Look for hidden charges including air transportation to a port, tips, extra taxes, port fees, and other charges.
Third-party online booking scams
People often fall prey to scammers working through third-party online booking websites. Many of these websites offer very lucrative travel deals including cheap airfares and accommodation. But be careful when you book through these websites.
After you book your tickets and stay and pay using a credit card, you may get a call from a person claiming to be a representative of the website. They may ask you to verify your personal card details such as your address, banking information, card details, and other information. Remember that no company or individual is allowed to ask you for such information. If they do, it is a scam, so do not divulge such information.
Vacation rental scams
If you’re planning on booking a vacation rental, make sure that the property exists for real before you pay for it. Sometimes, these properties won’t be real or they will be very different from what is advertised. These are scams, so don’t fall for them. These scams are usually created by con artists who act like they own a vacation rental property.
When you show interest in their property, they will contact you and create a sense of urgency by saying that there are others who are interested in booking the place as well. This may lead you to pay and reserve your space without conducting proper checks first. So, before you pay, talk to the owner of the property on the phone and check public records to ensure that the place exists. Then, check online for reviews and customer feedback about the property. Pay and book only if you’re satisfied with the feedback from previous customers.
If you’re booking a hotel to stay in, stay alert for scam calls. Don’t give out your personal details and credit card information. This normally includes skimming your details when you use their free Wi-Fi, calls from the front desk saying they need your details for security purposes or any other reason, fake food delivery, etc. While you’re traveling, be on your guard for scammers who try to take advantage of you especially when you’re tired.
Timeshare resale scams
Be careful when you get into timeshare resale deals. There are plenty of scammers waiting to take your money and run away. They will approach you saying that they have buyers lined up and will ask you to pay a fee upfront to secure the deal. Once you pay them, they will vanish and you will not be able to contact them again. Try these money-saving tips for your itenery.
Keep these 4 tips in mind when you make your travel plans:
If something seems too good to be true, it probably is
If you find a travel deal that costs you close to nothing or if the amenities and features are way too much for the price, it most probably is a scam. Check with other similar travel options to see what the price difference is. If the difference is huge, then be careful.
Always ask for references and check reviews
Before deciding on your accommodation and bookings, look for reviews from people who have stayed at these places before. Don’t just look for the best or worst reviews. Read the average ones as well. In all likelihood, the average reviews are the ones that are the most truthful since they will give you both the good and the bad stuff.
Then, compare them with the good and bad reviews to see if they are consistent. Read reviews that also include photos and videos. If the property you want to book doesn’t have reviews, call them and ask them to send you references.
Do your own research
If a company or brand of hotels or resorts is well known, you should be able to find a social media trail. Check their website for links to their social media accounts or simply search on Google. This will give you their activity and any user reviews that others have left. If the website has a lot of typos and fudgy images, the site is most likely a scam.
Don’t wire money or use a prepaid debit card to pay
If you pay through wire transfer or a prepaid debit card, you will not get your money back if it is a scam. Use a credit card instead. This will at least allow you to dispute the charges and limit your liability in a fraudulent transaction. Make sure you keep these tips in mind so you can avoid travel scams this Memorial Day.