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Hot rental car market = scams

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Rental car scams: Renting a car this summer? Only scammers will ask you to pay with a gift card. #Scam Free Summer. ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Image of red car and mobile phone with image of gift card on screen.

The weather is getting warmer, and you might be itching to travel again. The mountains, the beach, and the trails are calling you — and everyone else. At least that’s what it feels like when you start looking into renting a car. With rental car availability at an all-time low, prices are sky high. So, if you suddenly find an available car at a cheap price, you might be dealing with scammers looking to cash in on the rental car shortage.

Scammers are posing as rental car companies, setting up their own websites, and advertising fake customer service phone numbers, all to convince travelers they’re legit. Then, they’re asking people to pre-pay for the rental — with a gift card or prepaid debit card. To avoid rental car scammers driving off with your money:

  • Research the rental car company by searching for the name of the company and words like “scam,” “complaint,” or “review” to check if other people have had a bad experience.
  • Verify deals with the company directly. If you need customer support, look for contact info on the company’s official website. Don’t use a search engine result. Scammers can pay to place sponsored ads in search results, so they show up at the top or in the sponsored ad section.
  • Pay with a credit card if possible, and never pay with a gift card or prepaid debit card. You can dispute credit card charges, but gift cards and prepaid debit cards can disappear like cash. Once you give the number and PIN to a scammer, the money is gone.

Before you rush to book that miraculously available rental car, take a beat and read up about things you should consider when renting a car. If you spot a rental car scam, tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit
Scam Tags:  Gift Card Scams

Comments

Why are gift cards allowed to exist? They are used mostly by scammers because they cannot be traced.

They have their uses. Last year, I ordered a gift card from a supermarket for a friend (it was mailed to her) because she was having difficulty paying for food for herself & her cat that month. She lives 600 miles away, so I couldn't drop by & take her shopping.

Many people use gift cards legitimately as gifts at major holidays or birthdays, graduations, etc. Using them wisely and legally is something we can continue to do. However, if a scammer or anyone asks for a gift card as payment for something, be very careful. Follow this well known advice: " If it looks too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true."

The information shared here is really informative and all must be alert in such circumstances.I appreciate FTC for this.Really, thanks a lot.

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