Summer vacation season is just around the corner. Before you take off on that trip, we have some tips from Frank Abagnale’s AARP story “Vacationers Are Easy Prey for Scammers” in the April issue of AARP Bulletin.
According to Frank, you should be aware that traveling puts you in the part scam artists who want to separate you from your vacation dollars. Here are some of the tips in Franks article.
Here’s one for the books: You check into the hotel. A few minutes later you get a phone call from someone who says they are from the front desk asking you to repeat your credit card number and security code and claiming it was written down incorrectly. Hummm. Didn’t they swipe your card instead of writing anything down? So this call is from a scammer who hopes to get your credit card information to rip you off.
Driver’s License Rip-Off
What about those unsolicited offers to help you get an international driver’s license at a big price? If you have international travel plans, check with AAA to see if you even need an international license.
Those strangers who claim that you have a spill on your clothes could be attempting to get close enough to you to take your wallet or purse. And be careful at the ATMs – those bystanders who offer to help you with an unfamiliar machine could be after your code and card. Then there’s the kind offer to take your picture with you cell phone. Then the photographer takes off with you cell phone.
Fancy Accommodations Websites
So, you’re cruising a fancy website for lavish accommodations and spot a great price. It’s easy to make a reservation. You just sign a lease and send a cash deposit. Of course, when you arrive the address is phony and your money is gone. Before making a reservation, do your research. Call the Better Business Bureau or chamber of commerce in the location you plan to visit. Usually they can tell you if the company making the office has been caught victimizing others. In foreign countries, there is usually a tourist bureau that can help you investigate the company.
Tips for a Stress-Free Vacation
Take only credit cards rather than debit cards on vacation. On a credit card, you normally face little or no liability for charges from a lost or stolen card. On a debit card, the thief can steal directly from your bank account and getting the money back is more difficult.”
Plan and stick to your plan. Don’t let cab drivers take you off your planned route to a “better” hotel. Research your accommodations and don’t make last minute changes.
Be careful with deposits. If you wire money to someone you don’t know, there’s no way to recover it. The sign of a potential scam is the “owner” of the hotel indicating they don’t take your credit card.
Dean and Draper
We wish you a great vacation with smooth sailing, or a pleasant trip however you get there. If you have questions about the coverage your insurance policies provide while you are traveling, please give us a call.
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