New Yorkers Warned of Travel Scams Ahead of Summer Season
Memorial Day weekend brings a sense of excitement to many New Yorkers as it marks the unofficial start to the summer season which means camping, cookouts, and basking in the sunshine.
However, before you let yourself become all consumed with the joy that the summer season brings and you let down your guard, the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York asked us to share some things with you before you plan your next getaway so that you don't find yourself scammed and have your summer ruined.
Watch for Vacation Rental Scams
The BBB says that if you're planning to rent a place for vacation, you should keep an eye out for places that look a lot different in person than they do in photos, that aren't actually for rent, and that don't even exist. Con artists will try to get you to pay in advance by creating a sense of urgency that makes a person think they're going to miss out on a great deal if they don't act fast. Always do your research first.
Watch Out for “Free” Vacation Scams
When a travel company or cruise line splashes "free" in front of your face, that doesn't actually mean the entire trip is totally free. Watch out for hidden costs and restrictions. Also watch out for additional fees for air transportation or port transportation, port charges, taxes, tips, and other random fees. Really read ALL of the fine print!
You might not think that staying in a hotel comes with the risk of being scammed, but that's where you'd be wrong. Scammers love to call hotel guests, pretending to be from the front desk, says there's a problem with the card on file, and then asks the traveler to re-verify the information. Don't do this over the phone - go to the front desk. Also, be aware of fake food menus in the hotel rooms. Scammers will put fake menus in a room and when a traveler calls to order food, the scammer takes their credit card info and you can imagine what happens next.
If you're booking a flight, hotel, or any form of travel through a third-party website, proceed with caution. What's been happening is that scammers act like they're an online broker and get the traveler to give their name, address, and banking information and then they steal everything.
Watch for Timeshare Reselling Scams
Oh yes, the age-old travel scam known as the timeshare resale. A timeshare owner who is looking to sell gets a call from someone claiming to be a real estate broker or agent who promises they've got a buyer ready but to secure the deal, the owner needs to pay a fee. Then, the scammer takes the money and doesn't give up a buyer.
If you think that you've been the victim of a scam and want to report it, one of the first things you should do is visit BBB.org/ScamTracker.