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Consumer Watch: New Travel Scams To Watch Out For Before Your Vacation

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Many of us are planning spring or summer vacations and scammers know it. The cons keep changing and even smart people get duped. I found several travel scams to watch out for. Many of us are planning spring or summer vacations and scammers know it. The cons keep changing and even smart people get duped. I found several travel scams to watch out for.

It's the time of year. Many of us are planning spring or summer vacations and scammers know it. The cons keep changing and even smart people get duped. I found several travel scams to watch out for.

* Free Wifi. What's called an "evil twin" is convincing. It's a code with a similar name as the airport or hotel wifi,  but it's really someone nearby with a router,  trying to snatch our personal information.

* Gypsy Cabs. As we leave the airport, someone in the cab lane standing next to a luxury car  may ask us if we need a cab. Often we don't realize the ride comes with a luxury price. Make sure how much the ride will cost before leaving the airport.

* Phony Concierge Calls. Another hotel guest pretends to be calling from the front desk needing our credit card information. Never give it out over the phone.

* Pickpockets and Thieves. They have their eyes on our personal belongings, so make sure you do too. No matter where we are, we should keep everything with us or lock it away in the room safe.

* Fake Tour Guides. Never sign up for a tour or go off with someone claiming to be a guide, without doing your homework first.

* Window Tappers. These are people who come up to our rental car, making us think something is wrong with the car. We get out, tapper takes off in our rental, with our belongings in it.

The National Consumer League has more advice to avoid becoming a victim of a spring break travel scam:

* Proceed with caution when considering deals that seem to offer a lot (five-star hotels, premium airfare, etc.) for a very low price or that require immediate payment to retain a rate. When something seems too good to be true, it generally is.

* Ensure that all details from the purchase are in writing, including the total cost, any restrictions that may apply, and the exact names of the hotels or airlines promised (if applicable).

* Be wary of any claims that say you "won" something, especially if the offer is unsolicited.

* Pay for the vacation with a credit card so you are protected if something goes wrong, and so authorities can more easily track the fraudulent vendor. In fact, try to avoid companies that require payments by only cash, check, or wire transfer.

* Go online to see if the company has an established reputation. Look to see if other consumers have complained of hidden fees or sudden price increases.

* If a third-party company claims to have purchased airline tickets or hotel reservations, call the companies yourself to ensure that the claim is valid. Some consumers have traveled long distances only to find that the hotel they thought they were staying at does not exist.

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Helpful Numbers

  • OKC Housing Complaints

    405-232-3247

  • Attorneys General Office Consumer Protection

    405-521-3921

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    405-949-2626

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  • Better Business Bureau

    405-239-6081

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