Experts warn of travel scams ahead of Labor Day weekend
RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – As Labor Day approaches, many are trying to have one last big vacation or a long weekend.
The crooks are waiting for them.
As vaccines made it easier for people to travel, they also made it easier for criminals to create schemes that take people’s money. Many travel scams involve fake websites and bogus offers.
The search for the perfect vacation getaway often begins online. It is the main scam ground for criminals.
The The Federal Trade Commission reported $ 8 million in losses due to travel scams since the start of the pandemic.
One way criminals can take money is to impersonate a hotel, rental car, or airline staff.
“They say your reservation has been changed or canceled, and to unlock or change your reservation you have to pay a very high fee,” said Jack Caporal, financial research analyst at Motley fool.
How do crooks pass themselves off as legitimate? They create similar sites.
“A common way to talk to airline agents is live chat,” said Patricia Ceriauskaite of NordVPN. “Make sure you’re on the company’s website and you’re not talking to a shady third party. “
Before committing to a website, focus on certain components of the URL. Look for a padlock icon and make sure it’s an HTTPS address. Unlike HTTP, HTTPS addresses have a security certificate to make payments.
“This is the only really good and easy way to know that this is a reputable website,” Ceriauskaite said.
Other travel scams also involve non-existent vacation rentals, free vacations with hidden fees, and bogus travel insurance policies.
Ceriauskaite said that the crooks are in fact buying advertisements on the Internet to impersonate businesses.
“Make sure you buy from a reliable source. And if it’s a small business you’re not sure about, look it up on the internet, ”she said.
Plus, never pay for your vacation with cash, gift cards, or wire transfer.
“The crooks don’t want to be tracked down,” Ceriauskaite said. “They are always pushing you to use payment methods that you cannot find.”
One thing all travel scams have in common is that criminals will trick victims into making a decision quickly. One solution is to say, “I need some time to think about it. Check with me tomorrow.