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07/14/2015

Consumer Alert: Avoiding Vacation Scams

 

Consumer Alert: Avoiding Vacation Scams   
 School is out for the summer, and many Arkansans are taking vacations. These trips can be great for relaxation and fun, but consumers should take precautions to protect themselves from scams and con artists. 

Michigan-based financial advisor, Rick Bloom, wrote in an op-ed piece last week, “thieves know that we all tend to put our guard down when we’re on vacation.” 

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued today’s consumer alert to help Arkansans keep their guard up and avoid being scammed before or during vacation.

“There are many different aspects to planning a trip – from transportation to housing and excursions. Travelers need to remember to be cautious,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Research options and do not be pressured into signing up for anything.”

Attorney General Rutledge offered the following tips to recognize a scam:

  • A legitimate company will not require payment for a prize. If a company requires fees to be paid after awarding a free vacation it is likely a scam. Find out the costs before agreeing to anything.
  • If a travel agency will not provide the phone number or address of all or some of the arrangements it has made, there may be a problem. The more vague the promise, the less likely it is to be true. Call each company to verify reservations.
  • High-pressure sales tactics could be a sign of a scam. The pressure to sign up or miss out is a signal to walk away.
  • Be wary of wiring money as it is the same as sending cash; once sent, there is no way to get it back.
  • Travelers should pay by credit card as much as possible because it is easier to dispute the charges with the credit card company if the promised services were not provided. 

Attorney General Rutledge also encourages travelers to make copies of credit cards, passports and driver’s licenses, along with emergency contact information in case any of these documents are stolen.

All travel scams should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission, local law enforcement and the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. For information on tips to avoid getting scammed, as well as other consumer related issues, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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