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BBB: Travel scams can rain on your Spring Break

Spring Break
Posted at 10:34 AM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 13:26:40-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — Spring Break may still be a few weeks away, but many have already made travel plans and many others will be doing so soon. According to the Better Business Bureau, there are some things to keep in mind before scammers do their best to rain on your vacation.

While travel scams are always prevalent, there are also untrustworthy travel agencies that you will want to avoid. More than 400 Texas consumers filed complaints with the BBB against travel agencies in 2019.

Some scammers take stolen photos of luxury hotels and resorts, advertising them at unbelievable prices. Once you make your payment, you discover the place does not exist as advertised.

Other scammers operate fraudulent third-party booking sites for hotels and airlines, taking your credit card information and canceling your reservations shortly after.

How can you avoid these issues when planning for Spring Break? By simply remembering the following:

Use a reliable travel agent or site. Check www.bbb.org and trustworthy online reviews when considering a hotel, resort or travel agency. You can also call and ask for references but watch for vague answers. Double confirm the details, such as total cost, flights, hotel and car rental to ensure the reservation.

Be cautious of deals or prizes. If a deal or package offers a lot for a very low price, be wary. Many special offers come with restrictions such as blackout dates. And be wary of claims that you have ‘won’ a trip. Generally, if you have truly won something, it will be given to you as a gift. Be especially leery if the offer is unsolicited.

Pay with a credit card. This offers the most protection should something go wrong, because you can lock a stolen card or dispute any charges. Avoid using wire transfers or prepaid gift cards.

Consider travel insurance. This provides coverage for specific conditions under which it will pay claims. Be sure to shop around and read the terms and conditions. Also, wait to post trip pictures until you return to avoid a home burglary.