As millions prepare to travel for the holidays this year, Better Business Bureau is sending out a warning to travelers on what scams to look out for during the holiday rush.
In the last three years, nearly 3,000 travel complaints have been reported to BBB Scam Tracker with $1.3 million lost. When planning to visit family over the holidays, BBB recommends to look out for these scams:
Ride-sharing con. BBB has heard of complaints about scammers posing as drivers for ride-share services at airports. Drivers will claim to be the transportation that travelers have ordered, but after the ride is complete, the driver will ask for an upfront payment rather than the paying through the app and passengers are often over-charged.
Hoax websites. Reputable business names are often used as a ploy for scammers to get customers to trust them. Find a prominent, local travel business on the BBB App at bbbapp.org.
Fake travel agencies. Scammers posing as travel agents will entice consumers with cheap travel options. To confirm the company is legitimate and legally able to sell to consumers, ask the agent for their International Air Transport Association (IATA) number or an Airline Reporting Center (ARC) number. It’s a big red flag if the travel agent doesn’t provide these.
Grandparent scam. Scammers call in distress claiming to be a grandchild of the elder and needing money. Seniors are advised to hang up and call their actual grandchild’s phone number or another relative to confirm their grandchild is safe.
Always pay with a credit card. Paying with a credit card adds additional protection if consumers are scammed. Other payments such as wiring money and pre-paid cards are harder to track and most of the time it’s impossible to get money back.
For more travel tips, check out go.bbb.org/travelplanning. Victims of travel scams are encouraged to report their encounters, whether money lost or not, to BBB Scam Tracker.