How To Avoid Travel Scams

It’s sad but true: travel is one of the many industries targeted by con artists, those despicable “white collar” criminals who get the “con” name from the word “confidence”. Travel and tourism is particularly vulnerable to the confidence game, with most people always on the lookout for a bargain fare or unbelievable deal on a vacation package.

This prompts the first rule of avoiding travel scams: if a deal of any kind (right down to a shoeshine on the street corner) sounds too good to be true, odds are it is. Not true, that is.

Travel is a very competitive business these days, and unfortunately there are some unscrupulous operators in every aspect of the industry. To keep them away from your money, consider these tips:

1. Be wary of “great deals” and low-priced offers. Few legitimate businesses can afford to give away products and services of real value or substantially undercut prices.

2, Don’t let them pressure you into buying on the spot. A good offer today will usually be around tomorrow, and real businesses don’t expect you to make a snap decision.

3. Ask detailed questions regarding the price, additional charges and services, and the like. If you’re bung a package, ask for a few of the names of restaurants and hotels you’ll be using, and contact them directly if you have concerns. It could be well worth the cost of a quick long distance call.

4. Get specific details on cancellation policies and refunds.

5. Find out the name of the travel provider – the company that is getting your reservations and tickets.

6. Don’t give your credit card number or bank information over the phone unless you know the company or organization.

7. Never send money by messenger or overnight mail. Some con artists may ask you to send them a check or money order immediately.

8. To make things really easy, deal only with a reputable travel agency you know and trust. That way, you can forget all the previous rules, and enjoy your trip, knowing that you got a good deal from a solid organization.