WEST SACRAMENTO, CALIF., – Better Business Bureau (BBB) is urging consumers to educate themselves on the early warning signs of fake travel websites before making vacation plans during the summer months.
“With modern technology it’s very easy for a scam artist to create an appealing website, and lure customers in with deals that are too good to be true,” said Lynn Conner, interim President and CEO of BBB serving Northeast California. “Which is why it’s so important for consumers to stay vigilant and to know the signs of a scam,” added Conner.
Tips to spot a fake travel website:
1. Start with the company’s social media icons. If the business has icons leading to their Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram accounts, check those out first. Often times scam artists will link to facebook.com instead of facebook.com/THEIRCOMPANYNAME. If they do have social media accounts, check their activity and see if any other users have left reviews or voiced complaints.
2. See any distorted or pixelated images? Often times, internet criminals don’t take the time to crop or resize their images properly. This can be an easy way to tell if a travel website is fake.
3. Watch out for spelling and grammatical errors. Legitimate businesses can make mistakes, but if a website is full of errors, it’s likely a scam. This may be due to the fact that many scams originate outside of the United States, and the creators of the websites are using online translators.
4. Watch out for deals that are too good to be true. If the business is offering a trip to the Bahamas for only $199 a person, it’s probably a scam. When something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
5. Contact your local BBB. If you’re having trouble identifying a scam, contact your local Better Business Bureau at bbb.org, or report it at bbb.org/scamtracker.
Before booking your next vacation, also be sure to research the business at bbb.org. Check out their company rating, and any reviews or complaints. Also be sure to use a credit card instead of a debit card; you may be able to dispute the charge with your financial institution if something goes wrong.
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