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Stay Safe When Traveling

The holiday season is quickly approaching and scammers know this! It is important to stay diligent when planning an upcoming trip, so you don't end up paying hidden fees - or worse: finding out it was

all a scam after you've already paid. The Federal Trade Commission offers consumer advice on staying safe during travel season from fraudulent offers for free trips to safe methods of payment.

Signs of a Scam
  • "Free" vacations. Scammers say it's a “free” vacation that you have to pay for. They often try to get your attention by saying you won something, but then making you pay to get it. If you have to pay, it’s not really free — and all those fees and taxes can add up to hundreds of dollars.

  • Vague destination descriptions. Scammers don't give specific details about the travel offer. The offer says you’ll stay at a “five-star” resort or go on a “luxury” cruise ship. But if the organizer can’t or won’t give you more specific details, like the address of the hotel or the cruise company's name, walk away.

  • Payment methods. Scammers say the only way to pay for your vacation rental is by wire transfer, gift card, or cryptocurrency. This is how they ask you to pay because once they’ve collected the money, it’s almost impossible to get it back. That’s a scam, every time.

  • Sense of urgency. Scammers pressure you to make a quick decision about a vacation package or rental. If someone says you have to decide whether to buy a travel package or rent a vacation property right away, don’t do it. Scammers want to rush you. So move on and find another option.

  • Unrealistic deals. Scammers advertise premium vacation properties for super cheap prices. Is the rent a lot less than comparable rentals? Below-market rent can be a sign of a scam.

If you think you may have been targeted by a travel scam, report it to the FTC at your state attorney general.


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