WASHINGTON – Planning a summer vacation? beware of travel scam. You may be looking for deals on cheap flights or discounts at hotels and resorts — but some promotions may come with strings attached, and others can be downright scams. Before you pack your bags, keep these travel tips in mind.
Avoid “free” trips that require you to pay. A company that offers you a free vacation — but then pressures you to buy extras or add-ons, or to verify your identity with a credit card number — is probably trying to scam you.
Say no to robocalls. If you get a cold call trying to sell you something, ignore it. Robocalls are usually illegal. If you get an unwanted call, report it to the FTC. Also, avoid offers that come through text or an unexpected email.
Know the cancellation policies. Ask about the refund policies for flight reservations, car rentals and rental properties, and get them in writing.
Pay by credit card. When it’s time to buy, paying by credit card gives you more protection than paying with a debit card, cash or check. There are laws to protect you if your credit card information is lost or stolen. And, in case you don’t get what you paid for, you may be able to dispute the charges with your credit card company.
For more information, visit ftc.gov/travelscams. And if you’ve spotted a travel scam, report it to the FTC.