Travel is making a comeback. Unfortunately, as more and more people begin booking their first post-pandemic getaways, more and more travel-related scams are starting to pop up.
While this is concerning news for anybody planning a vacation, the good news is that a little bit of research and a healthy amount of skepticism will help you avoid any scam-related issues—so don’t panic!
Here are a few tips for how post-pandemic travel scams can be avoided.
If It Seems Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
Travel scams come in all shapes and sizes, so they can be difficult to detect, but according to AARP anti-fraud expert Amy Nofziger, if it seems to good to be true, “it’s probably a scam” (via Travel Pulse).
So, if you’re offered a seven-day, all-inclusive vacation for $200, you’re probably being swindled. Put your credit card away!
Watch for Suspicious Payment Methods
Other warning signs for travel scams, Nofziger said, include requests to pay travel-related fees with pre-paid credit cards or gift cards.
“If a company asks you to pay with a prepaid gift card instead of a credit card or debit card, it’s a scam,” Nofziger said. “Always work with a trusted travel agency or company that has a long, proven history of offering travel opportunities.”
Only Rent Cars from Trusted Companies
According to Nofziger, some travelers have reported rental car-related scams, so keep your eyes peeled—just like you would if you were driving.
“Several travelers alerted AARP this spring to fake rental-car-company scams. Crooks set up phony customer service numbers online that look just like those of major rental-car companies,” Nofziger said. “When you call, they take your money and personal information, then leave you stranded.”
Beware of Fake TSA PreCheck and Global Entry Programs
Nofziger says that some travelers are also being targeted by scammers peddling fraudulent TSA PreCheck and Global Entry Programs—another thing to be on the watch for.
“Travelers interested in enrolling in or renewing TSA PreCheck should start the process by going to the official government website, tsa.gov,” she said.
Watch Out for Fake Rental Properties
Rental properties can be expensive, so it can be very tempting to pull the trigger when you spot a good deal. Yet Nofziger warns that there’s an increased number of fake rental properties popping up on the Web—and they’re taking real money from unwitting travelers.
“Keep all of your interactions with a vacation property’s owners on the website of legitimate companies,” Nofziger advised. “A request to take your conversation off the site is a sign of a likely scam. If a property has few reviews or seems too good to be true, search the address online, or check it on Google Maps.”