The FBI is reminding would-be travelers of a popular adage – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. According to a report by Fox News, travel scams are on the rise but there are things you can do to avoid becoming a victim.
The FBI warns that one of the most common methods scammers are using are pop-up ads you see on your computer. Last year, its Internet Crime Complaint Center received its highest number of reports in five years – nearly 800,000 reports worth more than $4 billion in losses.
The FBI believes the number of reports of travel fraud increased so dramatically because of the growing number of people shopping online last year during the pandemic.
To avoid falling victim to a travel scam when booking a hotel room, flight reservation, or car rental, the FBI recommends that you book directly with well-known, reputable companies rather than going through third parties.
The Federal Trade Commission offers the following tips to protect would-be travelers:
- Ignore robocalls. If you answer your phone to an automated message, hang up.
- Be aware of unexpected emails and text messages. Ignore and delete messages.
- Research a company before booking with it. Look up reviews and ratings to see if other customers were satisfied with the services.
- Know the cancellation policy. Before booking, take the time to ask about the company’s refund policies for flight reservations, car rentals, and hotel bookings. Get these policies in writing.
- Pay with a credit card. This will give you more protection than paying with cash, a check, or a debit card.
- Lastly, keep in mind that if a travel deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you suspect you’ve been targeted for a possible travel scam, you can file a report with the FBI.