BBB Warning, Beware of Labor Day Weekend Travel Scams
This is scary, have you ever stayed in a hotel and had a takeout menu slid under your door? It could be a trouble. Scammers are hoping you’ll call a number and order food using your credit card. Later the food never arrives and the scammers can get your information.
With Labor Day weekend here and people planning weekend trips or travel, consumers need to be aware of potential scams.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is offering some important advice before you hit the highway or the skies.
• Don’t post information about travel plans on social media. Many thieves watch for vacant homes by reading your posts. You don’t want to come home to a ransacked hose
• Use reputable websites when booking your vacation. Always check out the company with BBB.
• Always use a Credit card. Never pay by cash, check or wire money for vacation rentals. Many Credit card companies offer purchase protection.
• If possible, rent a cottage or apartment that someone you know has already stayed in. You will be able to ask the previous renter about payment methods, rental policies and any other concerns you might have. As you begin to plan your trip, ask family members and friends if they know of available rental properties in the places you would like to visit.
• Some vacation rental websites offer secure payment systems and / or money-back guarantees, sometimes for an additional cost. These systems and guarantees offer renters an extra level of security. To ensure that you will be covered, be sure to read the guarantee’s terms and conditions before you book and pay for your stay.
• Airline loyalty account holders are sometimes targeted by phishing scammers. Phishing scams are increasing. Delete suspicious emails.
• Ignore emails that claim to be about a travel itinerary that you know you did not book. They are phishing for credit card numbers and bank info by trying to make you believe there is a problem with your arrangements, or get you to panic at the thought of an incorrectly booked trip.
• Beware of any deal that seems too good to be true. It usually is.
You’ve seen the picture in the brochure of the beach couple watching a beautiful sunset and yes you have been dreaming of a beachfront view during your tropical vacation. Make sure you are getting what you pay for. Before booking, use Google Maps street view to check out the location of your motel.
While in route to your vacation spot:
• Keep careful watch of your laptops or other devices at crowded airports. 12,000 laptops go missing every week from airports. Security checkpoints are often where someone picks up someone else’s property. The BB recommends investing in a laptop security lock.
• Have tracking software installed on your devices just in case they turn up missing.
• Wi-Fi: Always remember that 90% of public Wi-Fi hotspots are unsecure. Scammers will often create an evil twin of a public hotspot – a rogue network that looks legitimate. Watch out for pop-up windows seeking information under the guise of updating one of your programs. When connecting to a new network be certain to set the location to “Public Network” when prompted. This should block file and printer sharing – which are common routes for data snoopers.
• Do any online bill paying or banking before you leave home.
• Be sure your antivirus and security software has been updated.
Upon Arrival at your destination:
• Scammers can fake calls, claiming to be from the front desk and saying there is a problem with your credit card. Don’t give them any information over the phone. Take the time to go to the front desk to confirm any charges or changes required.
• Takeout menus slid under your door, hoping you’ll call a number and order food using your credit card is one way scammers can get your information. Check with the hotel for recommended restaurant delivery services.
For more tips log on to BBB.Org