Summer travel is in full force and scammers are just waiting to pounce on their next victim.
From fake ads luring you to rent “cheap cars and hotels” to phishing sites designed to steal your hard-earned cash, scammers are forever finding new ways to take advantage of unsuspecting Americans.
The good news is, you don’t have to be their latest causality if you keep your eyes open and know how to spot these latest travel scams.
Old Advice Rings True
If something sounds too good to be true…
… it probably is.
Who doesn’t love free stuff?
But remember – there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Scammers often call victims telling them they’ve won a “free vacation” and they just need to “collect their information.”
But to get your “free vacation,” they’ll redirect you to a fake website or ask you to pay with a non-traceable payment like a gift-card.
They get your money and you’re left with nothing.
Avoid this scam – and research any company promising anything for “free.”
Many scammers are posting pictures of real vacation rentals on sketchy sites like Craigslist and instructing interested parties that they must make a deposit over the phone first in order to secure the rental.
But soon after the deposit is made, the victim comes to realize they were scammed and just gave their money to a stranger – not the owner of the vacation home.
Likewise, with the rental-car shortage, fake rental car sites are popping up everywhere.
Often times scammers prey on the elderly and exploit their lack of knowledge with technology to steal their cash.
“Several travelers alerted AARP this spring to fake rental-car-company scams. Crooks set up phony customer service numbers online that look just like those of major rental-car companies. When you call, they take your money and personal information, then leave you stranded.
Avoid this scam: Before you call or click to reserve a car, verify that you’re calling the real customer service department, or that you’re on a legitimate rental-car-company website.”
Always check the URL of any website you are about to click.
SmarterTravel reported crooks are creating fake TSA PreCheck and Global Entry sites that look like the real thing…
…except they aren’t.
Those hoping to avoid being harassed by the TSA eagerly sign up… only to realize they clicked on a fake site and just gave scammers their sensitive information.
Be careful when searching online and clicking ads that pop up – always go to government websites (or any website) directly.
Scammers are always going to exist, but you don’t have to let them take advantage of you.
Sure, they’ll use the pandemic as a way to try and steal even more of your money, but with a little common sense and situational awareness, you can outsmart even the most skilled con-artist.
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