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FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 2/4 [Monthly posting]
Section - [2-9] Avoiding Travel Scams

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When planning a trip, here are some tips for avoiding travel scams.

   +  Beware of unsolicited travel opportunities.

   +  There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. If a travel
      opportunity sounds like a "great deal", it probably isn't.
      Either they'll take your money and run, or there are hidden
      charges. For example, many so-called "free vacations" or
      "vacation giveaways" require you to stay at a specific hotel --
      at exorbitant rates. 

   +  Beware of extremely low-priced offers, unsolicited offers
      involving Florida or Hawaii, and opportunities that try to pressure
      you into buying on the spot.

   +  If you're elderly, be especially careful. Scam artists will try
      to confuse and manipulate you. 

   +  Ask detailed questions (e.g., what is covered by the price and
      what isn't, whether there are any additional charges, the names
      of the hotels, airlines, airports, and restaurants, exact dates
      and times, cancellation policies, and refund policies), and get
      it all in writing before you buy anything.

   +  Never give personal information, including credit card numbers,
      social security numbers, bank account numbers, or similar
      information to an unsolicited telephone salesperson. If you
      must, ask for a telephone number and call them back the next day,
      after you've had time to check them out. Call the Better
      Business Bureau and use the telephone number to verify if
      they're a legitimate business, and if so, whether there have
      been any complaints. You can also check out the company with the
      state attorney general's office and the local consumer
      protection agency. 

   +  Pay for purchases with a credit card, never with a check or
      money order. When you pay for purchases with a credit card,
      you're protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act against
      fraudulent charges. 

   +  Never give out your frequent flyer number over the phone, unless
      you initiated the call.

   +  Don't assume that just because a company places advertisements
      in a newspaper or has a toll-free 800 number, it must be safe. It
      takes time for a company to generate enough complaints for a Federal
      Trade Commission to start an investigation. Moreover, not all
      800 numbers are toll-free these days, and its possible for an
      individual to get their own toll-free number.

   +  Do not give your tickets to anyone other than an agent of the
      airline at the ticketing/check-in counter, the gate, or the
      airlines offices. A common scam is for someone wearing a uniform
      similar to that of the airline to provide some excuse for taking
      your tickets (e.g., claiming there is a problem with the tickets).
      If you're not sure that someone is an airline employee, check
      their ID with the airline.

   +  If you've encountered a problem, or are suspicious of an offer,
      call the National Fraud Information Center, a hotline operated
      by the National Consumers League. The number is 800-876-7060 and
      can be reached from 9 to 5 EDT during the week. You can also
      call the local Better Business Bureau, the State Bureau of Consumer
      Protection, and the Attorney General's Office.

A good booklet to read is "Telemarketing Travel Fraud", a free
publication of the Federal Trade Commission. Call 202-326-2222 for a
copy, or write to Federal Trade Commission, Public Reference Branch,
Room 130, Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580.

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Top Document: FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 2/4 [Monthly posting]
Previous Document: [2-8] Companion Tickets
Next Document: [2-10] Missed Connections

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM