It always pays to be mindful of new travel scam alerts. According to Lois Greisman, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Marketing Practices, scam artists are prone to prey on travels who are eager to travel after being cooped up so long.
New Travel Scams to Watch Out For
Too Good to Be True. If you receive a postcard or email offer for free travel or a trip that is astoundingly cheaper than what it should be, don’t take that deal. If a company asks you to pay with a prepaid gift card instead of a credit card or debit card, it’s most likely a scam.
How to avoid this scam: Instead work with a professional travel advisor like GothamGuru. We have established relationships with travel suppliers all over the world and in every sector of the travel industry. We have access to pricing and deals that you simply do not have access to on your own.
Rental Car Scams. You may have heard about the huge increase in car rental pricing due to nation-wide shortage of rental cars. Scammers are taking advantage of this situation. There are phony customer service numbers online that look just like those of major rental-car companies. When you call, they take your money and personal information, then leave you stranded.
How to avoid this scam: Before you reserve a car, confirm that you’re calling a legitimate customer service department, or visiting the real rental-car-company website. GothamGuru has connections with every major rental car company and to pricing you may not find yourself.
TSA PreCheck and Global Entry program Scams. Websites are popping up that look like official government agencies. They claim to help you renew or enroll in the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) PreCheck or the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program that speed you through airport security for a fee. Instead, these sites steal your money and personal data.
How to avoid this scam: If you’re interested in enrolling in or renewing these programs, always begin the process at the official government website.
Vacation Rentals that Don’t Exist. Scammers capitalize on the popularity of vacation properties rented out on legitimate sites like Airbnb and Vrbo by offering properties online or via social media that they don’t own or that don’t look the photos they’ve posted.
How to avoid this scam: The legitimate sites provide the ability to send and receive direct messages with the property owners on their rental websites. It is a red flag if the owner requests to take your conversation off the site. Also, read many reviews and cross-check with reviews on sites TripAdvisor and Google reviews.
Public Wifi networks. Hackers can easily access your personal information on public wifi networks like those in coffee shops and airports.
How to avoid this scam: Protect yourself by using your phone’s hotspot. Also, invest in Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your data.
After reading these new travel scam alerts, be sure to check out the GuruGuide to NYC and our podcast.