May 2023 - Be Wary of Vacation Deals That Sound Too Good to Be True
If you haven’t already booked your summer vacation, you may be scrambling to find the best deal you can. Be wary. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
These days instead of going to a travel agent to book a vacation, many of us turn to the internet. The ability to compare rates on transportation and accommodations leaves us with the sense that we scored the best deal possible. But not everything on the internet is how it appears.
The increase in online bookings has led to an increase in fake websites essentially looking to take your money and run. According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association about $5 million in booking scams are committed each year, costing the average victim around $850. Those most at risk: seniors aged 55 and older and military personnel.
How can you tell the difference between a good deal and a scam? Look for these red flags:
- Spelling and grammatical mistakes, misclassifying a city as a region or state
- URLs containing unnecessary letters, symbols or numbers
- Low quality and/or outdated logos for accepted credit cards
- Confirmation emails that don’t include details of your transaction
You don’t have to be a victim. Some steps you can take to avoid being scammed are:
- Book directly with the airline and hotel; alternatively, book with a familiar, reputable third party. Check the Better Business Bureau to validate the site and pay attention to online reviews.
- Use your credit card; they won’t hold you liable for fraudulent charges.
- Avoid using broad terms in your internet searches; call the airline or hotel and ask specific questions; make sure you understand refund policies.
- Use loyalty programs that reward customers with the best deals.
- Plan early; booking in advance usually affords you the best rates available.
Enjoy your trip, and don’t forget the sunscreen!