Avoiding Vacation Scams

Everyone wants a good deal on a vacation, but no one wants to be scammed! Find out how to take a safe vacation by reading this article now!

How many times have you received a letter in the mail that greeted you with something like, "Congratulations! You have won a FREE vacation to beautiful, sunny Florida!" If you read the details of the letter, you found out that the vacation wasn't actually free. The offer was just another ploy to get your hard earned money from you.

Companies that send out letters or post cards like this, or call you on the phone, or, even email you promising you something for nothing are rampant. The most common ploy is to request that you pay a "nominal fee", as it's often referred to, in order to receive your FREE vacation. The "nominal fee" is rarely less than a few hundred dollars. If the company that's preying on you can convince you to give them your credit card number, they can even take more money than the amount you agreed to.

And what can you expect for your money? You either never hear from the company again, or, you receive a bogus travel certificate in the mail. It's as simple as that.

Other shady companies will offer you a vacation for a ridiculously low cost. You then pay the amount, and wait to take your trip. So then you receive your airline tickets and hotel reservations, and you pat yourself on the back for taking advantage of this "good deal". Unfortunately, when the magic day comes, you find that the "airline" is actually a cheap charter flight with a company that you've never heard of. (Be wary of charter flights because they are not subject to the same federal regulations that commercial airlines are.) Not wanting to lose your money, you and your spouse nervously board the flight. When you arrive at your destination, you then find that your "luxurious accommodations" are actually a booking at a flea bag motel. Need I say more?

How do these shady companies find you? They take your name and phone number at random from a phone directory, or from other public records. They email you with a vacation offer, and you respond with personal information. They also set up "drawing boxes" at fairs, flea markets, shopping malls, gas stations, and other public areas. You fill out a entry blank with your name, address, and phone number, and then you slide it into the box thinking that you may have a chance to win a FREE vacation. The promoters now have your contact information so they can call or write you with their offer.

If you and your spouse are thinking about taking a vacation, safety should be your primary concern. That is, make sure that your credit card and bank accounts are safe from travel related scams. Also, make sure that the airline you're going to use is a recognized one. You should also visit a local travel agency. If you have never dealt with this company before, make sure that your first contact is a visit. That way, you can check out the business for yourself. Make sure that the agency is recognized by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and that it's licensed. Be sure that you read the entire vacation deal before you sign any paperwork. And, play it safe by never paying for a vacation trip with cash.

If you think that you have been scammed, immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

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