April 21, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Edmonton,AB – According to BBB’s new Risk Index, travel scams are one of the riskiest scams out there and they show up in a variety of ways. From vacation rental scams to fraudulent phone calls while you are at a hotel, scammers will stop at nothing to ruin your vacation plans. As summer approaches, many will start booking vacations now.
BBB offers these tips to avoid vacation rental scams:
• Wiring money is the same as sending cash. If you wire money to a person you’ve never met, you have no way to trace it or get it back. If a property owner asks you to pay in full upfront and requires payment via MoneyGram, Western Union it could be a scam. Use a credit card through a payment system such as PayPal.
• Don’t be rushed into a decision. If you receive an email pressuring you to make a decision on the spot for a rental, ignore it and move on.
• If you can, meet the landlord. Be wary of nothing other than email correspondence, a scammer may insist on email only.
• The lower the price for a premium vacation property, the more likely it’s a scam. Rip-off artists love to attract people’s interest by offering below-market rent.
• Get a copy of the contract before you send any deposit money. Check that the address of the property exists.
• Do a search. See if the property shows up on other vacation rental sites. See if the property shows up on Google Earth Street View. Do a Reverse image search on Google to see if the images have been taken from another website.
• The photography shows a perfect home. Don’t be fooled by photography. Scammers will post beautiful photos of homes and condos, some real and some fake. It may be a good idea to ask for additional photos — an honest landlord will always have them.
Not every traveler is interested in private rental properties. Like any other service provider you may hire, booking travel plans through a reputable travel agency can help ease any concerns about hopping around the world.
BBB travel tips:
• Use a travel business you trust. Ask family and friends to recommend a business they’ve used and go to bbb.org to see their BBB Business Profile.
• Booking closer to your travel dates can increase cost. The earlier you can book, the better.
• Get everything in writing. Get all the details of your vacation in writing, including travel itineraries, booking confirmations and vouchers. Get a copy of the business’s cancellation and refund policies.
• Verify reservations. Get the contact information for the airlines, car rental companies, and hotels. Call to confirm all arrangements with them. Don’t only rely on the word of your agent.
• Resort fees. Understand there may be extra, daily fees once you get to the hotel that covers things like facilities and wi-fi.
• Consider travel insurance. Travel insurance is designed to cover such things as trip cancellations or medical emergencies. Ask a lot of questions, and see what is covered by always reading the fine print.
• Pay with a credit card. Paying with a credit card gives you additional protection if something were to go wrong with the travel reservation.
• Be alert for travel scams. Unsolicited mail, email, and websites offering deeply discounted travel packages could leave you out of a vacation and your money if you’re not careful. Watch out for scams saying that you have “won a trip.” If you’ve truly won something, it will be given to you as a gift. Be especially leery if the offer is unsolicited or if you haven’t entered a contest.
• Front desk phone calls. If you are at a hotel and the front desk calls to report a problem with your credit card and they ask for the information over the phone, this could be a scam. Go down to the desk and speak to the concierge in person.
BBB Serving Central and Northern Alberta
780-488-6632 Ext 233
16102 100 Ave NW