5 Unexpected Travel Scams

summer2 150x150 5 Unexpected Travel ScamsSummer isn’t over, which means travel scams are still in full swing!  Realistically, with some common sense and planning, you can avoid major fraud while on vacation. The more likely danger, that you may not account for, is the smaller fees, which can pile up quietly and quickly, and ruin your vacation.

MintLife warns of 5 unexpected travel scams that you need to be wary of:

Practicing unsafe plastic

Although thousands of dollars can be stolen from your account instantaneously, it is more likely that money will be siphoned away in tiny amounts.  According to MintLife, “The scammers count on you not checking your card balance, and missing that dollar charge for a merchant you’ve never heard of.”  A smart, secure method to prevent credit card hackers is “chip & pin” technology, which requires a cardholder to enter a pin or sign for each transaction made.  If your card lacks such security, it runs the risk of being scanned, swiped and cloned by fraudsters. So before you travel, go to your bank and ask for a safer chip & pin card and be sure to thoroughly review your account statement at least once a month.

Death by a thousand fees

Once again, it’s the few dollars here and there that really fool you. The travel industry is a major perpetrator, “A $2 delivery fee at your hotel for a newspaper you never requested, a $5 candy bar from a minibar, a $20 fee to check your luggage; alone, these fees are chicken scratch, but put them all together and you’re spending more, maybe a lot more, fro your vacation.” To avoid hidden fees piling up, always be sure to ask if the price you are paying upfront includes everything.

“Conveniences” that aren’t there for you

The phrase “for your convenience” is most likely anything but that, and will have price-tag attached. For example, “dynamic currency exchanges on credit cards, which are billed as a convenience and often fraudulently implemented on your bill when you travel overseas.” In short, be wary of the convenience offer because it could end up just being an expensive hassle. Make sure to check your credit card statements and verify businesses haven’t sneakily attached extra “convenience” charges to your bill.

Bad advice you shouldn’t take

Before you trust the recommendations from a brochure, concierge, or blogger, consider their motive. Many are affiliated with certain businesses and have an agreement to recommend that service over others. According to MintLife, “in small and seemingly benign ways, the advice you get from user-generated travel reviews and so-called “experts” can be tainted.”  The most reliable sources are friends you trust who have experienced a service themselves. If you do follow “expert” reviews, be sure to double-check them and make sure they have no ulterior motives for pitching something.

A fake invitation to return

Some travel companies target your more sentimental side that comes out at the end of a vacation.  You had a great time, so why not consider a vacation deal for next year? Such as, “another cruise at the end of your vacation at sea, or a timeshare while you’re having a theme park vacation in Orlando, or to signup for a scammy travel ‘club’ that’ll let you return to the island.” But according to MintLife, never buy one of these offers while you’re still on vacation.  They are almost always a rip-off.

To read the full article, visit www.mint.com/blog/consumer-iq/5-travel-scams-no-one-warned-you-about-but-should-have-0813.

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About Katie Burgoyne

I am the Communications Intern for the Council of Better Business Bureaus in Arlington, VA. I hail from Northern VA and am currently a senior at Villanova University majoring in Communications with a specialization in Public Relations.