Don’t Fall Victim to These Top Vacation Scams

Slow down before you snap up that free vacation or deeply discounted hotel arrangement. Scammers may be waiting in the wings.

Who doesn’t love a good vacation or travel adventure?  While going away may be one of the best ways to spend the last weeks of summer, scammers are working hard to get a cut of your travel money.  Here’s what you need to know to avoid these top vacation scams this season.

Be careful with third-party booking sites.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued warnings regarding third-party hotel booking websites that will happily take your money, but in the end your hotel room will somehow not be booked.  Do your homework, check that the site you are using is, in fact, a real booking site, and check with the Better Business Bureau that you are working with a legitimate travel company.

That “free” vacation may be anything but free.

There are companies out there that advertise “free” vacations if you act on a specific marketing campaign, but this business model relies on getting customers interested in order to upsell more product.  Generally, there are port fees for cruises or other fees associated with taking these kinds of trips.

About those timeshares…

Most people get lured into lengthy timeshare lectures with the promise of something free, whether it’s food or some other goodies that aren’t even worth the expense of the travel itself.  Is it worth traveling and sitting through a lecture if all you want to do is take an actual vacation?

Keep an eye on advertised vacation rentals.

While Craigslist is a popular destination to post free ads, it’s probably not a good idea to make this your go-to method to find your next vacation destination.  Some scam artists not only post fake ads, but also copy real ones.  They simply change the contact information and ask unsuspecting victims to wire them payment.  Not only will you be out a significant amount of money, but you won’t have a vacation to show for it.

Vacation is all about unwinding and letting your guard down, but don’t let it down so much that you get yourself into a scam jam.  Stay safe, book your adventures wisely, and happy travels.

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