How Does A Typical Scam Work?

Most scams operate by slick sales tactics promising vacations in paradise in hopes of taking advantage of an unsuspecting consumer. Some common scams are:

  • Total Fraud: A company from out-of-state or from a different country runs a scam where you lose all your money because the proposed trip was completely made-up. Once you realize you have been played you can no longer trace the company for a refund because whatever contact information the company gave was bogus.

  • Hidden Costs: A trip package advertises itself as all-inclusive. In reality the trip is anything but all-inclusive, and you get hit with extra, unexpected charges. You may be required to bring a second traveler who is charged a high price for the trip. Perhaps your airplane ticket is free, but your hotel ends up being twice the price. Another scam is to charge membership and service fees, hotel taxes, or port charges, which could be up to hundreds of dollars and may not be billed onto your card until after the trip.

  • Poor quality accommodations: You buy a package deal based on promises of a swanky hotel with ocean-front views and then arrive to find your lodging is dirty or in a dangerous area.

  • Failure to disclose refund policies: The scammer assumes you will not read the trip agreement, so the scammer includes no refund policy or one that is vague and ambiguous.

  • Timeshare Offers: A company may offer you a free weekend getaway or a trip to a resort, as long as you agree to listen to a sales pitch about the resort´s timeshare opportunities. The proposal may appear to be a good way to get a free trip. However, once you arrive at your destination you encounter highly aggressive sales pitches pressuring you into purchasing a timeshare you never really wanted.

  • Advertisement Misrepresentations: Ads on the Internet or faxes sent to an office where you are working may try to copy the look or style of a well-known travel company in order to make you falsely believe the advertised company is legitimate.

For more information on possible scams, visit the AAAwebsite or call (800) 222-6327, or visit the Federal Trade Commission website.