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Make it a scam-free vacation

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It’s almost summer! Right now, you probably have beaches on the brain or you’re thinking about that long-planned trip abroad. Before you head out, take steps to help keep your dream vacation from becoming a nightmare:

Do some research — and then carefully read the details on travel offers.

  • First, get recommendations from family and friends on good travel agencies, vacation rentals, hotels and travel packages — before responding to offers.
  • Look up travel companies, hotels, rentals and agents with the words “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.”
  • Look for extra costs. Resort fees (also known as destination, facility and amenity fees) can add $50 or more to your nightly cost.
  • Ask about taxes, which may be significant in many locations.
  • Get a copy of the cancellation and refund policies before you pay.
  • If you’re buying travel insurance, be sure the agency is licensed.
  • Bring copies of any confirmation details that show the rate and amenities you were promised. This also helps if the hotel or host says your reservation is “lost.”

Don’t pay for “prize” vacations. No legitimate company will ask you to pay for a prize. Also, look for catches to resort or timeshare offers. They may come with taxes and fees to pay, timeshare presentations to attend, and high-pressure sales pitches to endure.

Don’t sign anything until you know the terms of the deal. Say “no thanks” to anyone who tries to rush you, without giving you time to consider the offer.

Use a credit card, if possible, for your travel spending. This gives you more protection than paying by cash or debit card — and it may be easier to dispute unauthorized charges.

Protect your identity and account information while you’re traveling.

And while we hope it doesn’t happen to you, report identity theft and any other fraud you experience.

Comments

Thanking you in advance for your excellent advice. My vacation starts next Friday and I saw a couple of things I had not thought about. Continue your great work and I always read everything you email to me.

please consider using black print instead of grayscale which is hard to read.

lots of print is coming up gray these days. New to menus and magazine print. expect its to make all seem softer. Thought it was my eyes getting weak but its the ink. Hitting 70 this year, black is so much better. Thanks Jodee.

Couldn't agree more, especially for eyes of a certain age. High contrast is preferable to designer hues, such as grey [or white type on a pastel background.]

If you are having trouble reading the type (I agree it is too light) the press the "pancake stack" menu (≣) to the left of the location bar at the top of the page. This will re-render the page in a simple text format that is much easier to read (or can be read by an assistive reader tool). Many browsers allow you to adjust the text size and background color of the reader text page. If your browser does nit support this feature, then dump it immediately and get a good one.

And put all of the contact information (toll free telephone numbers) for your credit and debit cards into your phone so that it is easy to reach their customer support if needed. I also had to activate a phone travel plan for international travel.

thank you for all this info! got a lot to dive into and fix but thanks to you guys and your tips and info i had no idea about- i know ill be good :)

Right now someone has listed my condo for rent on Craig’s list! It is Not for rent. Someone is scamming people. I filed a police report, tried to tell Craig’s list and emailed FTC. This is such a shame! I’m so worried a family is going to show up and think I’m scamming them!

Watch out for booking scams. I just got scammed when I booked a home for the weekend. After getting my confirmation and taking money from my account I was told that they need to cancel my booking . The meantime they’re showing that it is still available for that weekend and several other people have booked it after me for the same weekend. I was told that my payment was nonrefundable when I booked. They are requesting that I cancel. I still need a place to stay for the weekend. They are saying that the only way I can get my money back is if I confirm their cancellation. Scam! Scam! Scam!

Be aware of this classic scam marketing ploy targeting Senior Citizens

This company has nothing to do with Southwest Airlines, they just use a similar name on the postcard to get your attention so you call in and attend a travel show.

Presentations are held in various hotels around the country for about a week at a time.

They are not selling a timeshare but it is a very similar hard sell.

My husband did the research before hand because the nice man on the phone mentioned Expedia, Travelocity and said they were a new internet travel company.

We found their prices were not at all a savings.

Don't think we will ever be able to use those 2 round trip airfare tickets because we kept getting hung up on this morning trying to contact the gifting department.

We felt sorry for the other old folks who fell for their emotional marketing ploy of leaving a legacy to their kids, grandchildren, extended family members.

We love to vacation and are financially able to travel about 6 months out of the year. Who doesn't love to save money? My husband almost laughed at the salesmans "closing" questions. He sold IBM back in the day when most people were polite and honest about the product they sold.

It's a scam if you buy into this company's vacation website... We still use a friend who is a real travel agent and find she is a better bargain hunter than either my husband or myself...the big company's like Disney pay her a commission.

Stay and watch TV for 2hrs or go to the travel presentation. I must admit we did enjoy the $200 dinner certificate and spending $50 visa gift card.

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