The Basics of Travel Scams
When you’re planning a vacation, the last thing you want to worry about is being scammed. Unfortunately, travel scams are becoming more and more common, as criminals increasingly target unsuspecting travelers.
There are many different types of travel scams, but they all have one thing in common: the goal is to steal your money or personal information. Scammers will often use fake websites or emails to trick you into booking with them, and then they’ll either never provide the services they promised, or they’ll provide subpar services at a much higher price than you expected.
Common Types of Travel Scams
There are a few common travel booking scams that you should be aware of. Here are some of the most popular:
- “Free” Vacation Scam: You’re promised a free or deeply discounted vacation if you just pay a small processing fee. Once you pay the fee, you never receive the free vacation.
- “Bait and Switch” Scam: You’re lured in with the promise of a great deal on a vacation, only to be told that the deal is no longer available once you’ve paid the deposit. You’re then pressured into booking a more expensive vacation or you’ll lose your deposit.
- “Phantom” Vacation Rental Scam: You pay for a vacation rental that doesn’t exist. The scammers will often use fake photos and reviews to make their rental look legitimate.
- “Timeshare” Scam: You’re pressured into buying a timeshare that you can’t afford and will never use. The scammers will often use high-pressure sales tactics and make false promises about the benefits of owning a timeshare.
- “Airline Ticket” Scam: You’re lured in with the promise of a cheap flight, only to find out that the ticket is non-refundable and has a ton of restrictions. The scammers will often use fake websites and reviews to make their airfare look legitimate.