Holiday Scams – How To Spot Them

Again, your mother was right. In fact, he was exactly twice. One, nothing in life is free and two, to be honest, if it feels very good, it probably is.

One of the biggest and longest scandals to date is vacation fraud, where you or a loved one are told that they have won a free vacation package or a glamorous cruise trip. If not completely “free”, these “agents” say they can get you that dream trip at a rock-bottom price. At this point, you, like many other law-abiding citizens, are asking, “What could be wrong?” Obviously a lot.

Let’s just start with the obvious: you won’t get any free leave. Granted, there are rare packages from reputable travel agencies that can be free but are cautiously wrong. The most common travel and vacation scams include:

Suspicious Travel Agency Scandal – You are called and told that you are getting a free vacation package but you must pay a “fee” to save this opportunity. Then after you pay these fees, the “travel agency” can no longer be found. Their phone line is disconnected and there is no way to get your money back. Another variation of this scandal is telling you that you were very impressed to be booked on a luxury vacation trip, but only for a “limited time”. You will then be asked to pay a “reservation fee” immediately to reassure your slot (and this is usually a large amount). Only after the payment is made does the “travel agent” tell you that your vacation dates are not available or after some time will tell you that the offer has already “expired”. Then the “agent” with your agent also disappears.

Plane tickets are free – here, they call you and say you’ve won two plane tickets to a great spot like the Bahamas. What they are not saying is that you must book the hotel and buy your food from the food that is giving the ticket. If you stop and do the math before you accept this “free ticket” offer, you can easily calculate that the amount of food and accommodation easily costs a plane fare because the prices have been increased so much.

“Free Vacation” – You’re ready to start the holiday, flying all the way to Hawaii or Mexico, but you find that you have booked a small and dirty hostel with bad food. If you check out they will tell you that you have canceled your return ticket oid so, you can either stay in your bad hotel or pay a hefty fee to get out so you can sleep in a decent hotel.

The Time Share Scandal – You are given a free leave but you have to sit through the presentation of a timeshare salesman before you can enjoy it. Sometimes, you are not even told about the mandatory timeshare speech before reaching your destination. Often people are forced to sit down with long speeches and sign contracts to get food tickets and accommodation, which is also fraud. In some cases, when vacationers tried to escape, they were subjected to rape and other dishonest tactics by these sales agents.

The “Become a Travel Agent” scandal – Someone tells you that you are better off than being a travel agent because it saves you a lot of money in the long run. As travel agents they say, you get lots of discounts and free while on vacation. The catch is, you have to pay them a “fee” to become an instant travel agent, and when you become one, you realize you can’t take the discount yourself because your credentials are not recognized by any travel authority.

Fraud Vacation Discount Card – You pay for a vacation card thinking it will make your vacation a little cheaper, but then you realize that the card has so many restrictions that you can’t get the discount you deserve. Or if you get a discount, it just takes away a “special price” and still comes down to the price everyone else is paying.

Protect yourself from this travel scandal by following your gut instincts and becoming suspicious. Don’t be afraid to speak up and be assertive when these “agents” become overwhelmed. Never enter your credit card number on the phone in the name of “saving” your slot. If they give you a deadline, tell them you need to think about it; Haste is usually a sign of a scandal. Before accepting the package, check the distance – check the hotel, airline, etc. – and make sure they are working with this promotion according to the agent’s price. Buy tickets and packages only from the original agency and in person, if possible and remember that phone call or spam email offers are more likely to be scammed.