Are you prepared to protect yourself from holiday travel scams?

It is important to plan for holiday travel so that you can save money and be aware of scams.

The holidays are rapidly approaching and like some, you may be looking to travel during the holiday season. It is important to plan for holiday travel so that you can save money and be aware of scams. Do you ever notice when looking for flights or hotels, a ton of websites appear offering a great deal? If you are like most consumers, you love a great deal, but be aware of scams.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers the following tips for safe travel:

  • Get travel recommendations from family and friends
  • Call to verify your reservations and arrangements
  • Get a copy of the company’s cancellation and refund policies before you pay for the trip, and ask questions if their policies are not clear
  • Pay with a credit card, not a debit card
  • Ask about mandatory hotel “resort fees”
  • Ask questions before joining a travel club

Additionally, the FTC advises consumers to beware of the following signs of scams:

  • Receiving something (email, phone call, text, etc.) stating you “won a free vacation” — but you have to pay some fees first
  • The prize company wants your credit card number or personal account information
  • Someone or company cold-calls, cold-texts, or emails you out of the blue about vacations
  • Someone or company do not or cannot give you specifics about flights, hotels, etc.
  • You’re pressured to sign up for a travel club
  • You get a robocall (automated messages) about a prize, etc.

An informed consumer has a better chance of protecting themselves from travel scams. Additionally, to help reduce solicitations, register your phone number on the Do not call registry and opt out of unsolicited emails and mailings at Direct Marketing Association. If you believe you have been a victim of a scam, travel or otherwise, file a complaint with the FTC. Finally, be sure to check out Michigan State University Extension for valuable resources and information.

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