Steer Clear of Travel Scams

posted on Monday, March 13, 2023 in SHAZAM Blog

Perhaps you’re seeking warmer weather or getting a head start on summer vacation planning. If so, resist the temptation of an offer promising a free or a heavily discounted vacation. Scammers and shady companies are often behind these too-good-to-be-true offers. And the result could mean your dream trip being grounded before you even hit the road.  

Popular Destinations for Scammers 

“Free” Vacations 

You receive a notification that you won a free trip, but you don’t remember entering a contest. Be suspicious of these types of deals. Be on the lookout for any fees or taxes you must pay upfront - making your “free” vacation, no longer free. According to the Federal Trade Commission legitimate companies won’t ask you to pay for a prize. If the person behind the deal pressures you to accept the offer now or it's gone forever, don’t accept their offer. Instead, hang up the phone or delete the email or text message. 

Vacation Home Rentals 

Vacation rentals are a wonderful way to have the comforts of home away from home. However, property owners aren’t the only ones trying to get your booking. Scammers are known to impersonate real listings and advertise them as their own. Other times the rental is made up or for a place that doesn’t exist. 

The Better Business Bureau recommends doing your research to navigate around this trap. Verify the host by double-checking the property’s address by using a street view mapping service to see if the property matches the picture in the listing. If it’s a private home, you can check the name of the owner listed in public records to see if it’s the same as the rental site. Finally, don’t take a detour off vacation rental sites like Airbnb or VRBO. New York Attorney General Letitia James warns leaving a third-party site makes you more vulnerable to having your money or personal information being stolen.  


When staying at a hotel, be on alert for people trying to steal your personal identifiable information. 

Pay close attention to anyone who calls your hotel room claiming to be a front desk employee asking for your credit card information. Scammers may also try to collect your data by setting up a “free” Wi-Fi connection or distributing fake food menus. Protect yourself by verifying the hotel’s network. If you must use their internet, use a virtual private network (VPN) for a secure connection that disguises your device’s location and protects sensitive data. And if you’re hungry, look up the restaurant listed to verify it's legit.  

Detour Around Scammers’ Roadblocks 

Scammers are constantly trying to spoil your holiday plans. However, there are ways to get around their roadblocks to make sure you enjoy your vacation. If you think you may have been targeted by a travel scam, report it to the FTC or your state attorney general

Share these tips with family members, employees and accountholders to make sure your next trip is smooth sailing. For more ways to protect your personal information, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn for Fraud Friday content.  





  1. fraud
  2. preparedness
  3. social engineering

SHAZAM, Inc. and ITS, Inc. provide this blog for general informational purposes only. Our blog may be shared by a direct link wherein the content remains as originally presented and has not been altered. SHAZAM, Inc. and ITS, Inc. assume no responsibility for errors or omissions in the contents on the blog. By using this blog, reader agrees that the information published does not constitute nor is a substitute for legal advice which should only be sought from a qualified, licensed attorney. 


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