Don’t Fall for These Travel Scams

Don’t Fall for These Travel Scams

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Even though travel is currently at a standstill, the scammers are still out in force. As more people start looking for post-pandemic travel deals, a new crop of scams has popped up. Here are some of the most common travel scams to watch out for as you shop.

Bogus Travel Insurance

With so much uncertainty right now, it makes sense to protect your travel plans with insurance. While we all hope that travel will be possible in summer or fall, it’s still too early to know for sure.

Unfortunately, that opens the door for scammers selling fake travel insurance policies. These grifters are peddling fake coverage at suspiciously low prices–or even offering free upgrades. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Real “cancel for any reason” travel insurance is expensive. Only buy coverage from a legitimate agency.

Fake Airline Agents

This scam requires a large amount of prep work from the thieves, but it’s almost foolproof once it gets going. Scammers create a fake customer service page for an airline, including a phone number. If you google, for example, “Delta customer service,” you might accidentally click on a fake page instead of the real thing.

Then, before you know it, you’re giving your credit card information, home address, and phone number to a fake airline agent. Not only are you opening yourself up to identity theft, but these scammers will also steal your reservations and cancel them, pocketing the cash.

Always navigate to the airline’s official web page to avoid calling a fake customer service number. Also, airlines are unlikely to call you out of the blue. If you get a call about a refund or cancellation that seems at all suspicious, it is probably a phishing scam to steal your information.

Timeshare and Vacation Rental Scams

If you (or someone in your family) has ever purchased a timeshare, then you already know these vacation rentals can be more trouble than they are worth. That’s especially true now, with so many people unable to use their pre-paid time.

Scammers are targeting timeshare holders who are trying to resell. They pose as brokers who specialize in timeshare resales. After claiming to have a client interested in buying, they hit you with the catch. The fake broker will ask for a fee–up to several hundred dollars–to process your paperwork.

You should also be very wary about booking vacation rentals right now. Stick to reputable sites like Airbnb instead of searching on Craigslist or Facebook. And never agree to wire money directly to the alleged property owner instead of going through an authorized booking system.