Beware of bogus vacation packages, pause before posting travel plans on social media

Last Updated on June 28, 2016 by cassnetwork

Before jet-setting off to your summer vacation spot this year, avoid common travel mistakes that may put you at risk for fraud or invite criminals to your doorstep.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s Office offers the following tips:

When booking a trip

•  Be wary if you are contacted about winning a “free” vacation. A legitimate company won’t ask you to pay fees for a prize.
•  Before booking a trip with a third-party agency, research the company to make sure it is reputable. Ask agencies for recent references and read customer reviews online. Check for complaints about the business with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General by calling 800-382-5516, and your local Better Business Bureau.
• Research and obtain quotes from multiple agencies to make sure you are getting honest pricing.
• Review contracts carefully, including information about refund, cancelation policies, and whether your deposit will be applied to the final cost.
• Avoid paying by cash or check. Credit cards offer the best protection in case you need to dispute a charge. For more information on how to dispute a charge click here.
• Confirm all arrangements yourself. Ask the company for the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the airlines, car rental companies, and hotels you’ll be using so you can verify the information.

Before you leave

• Avoid posting about your upcoming trip on social media, especially when you are leaving, and how long you will be gone. By posting details on social media about leaving town, you’ve just allowed a burglar to schedule the best time to break into your home.
• Place travel alerts on your credit cards, particularly if you are traveling abroad, by calling your bank and letting them know your destination.
• Call the airline and/or lodging companies ahead of time to confirm your reservations.

During your trip

• Closely monitor your bank statements for any unusual activity while traveling, including duplicate charges by vacation vendors.
• While traveling, keep tabs on your Boarding Pass, hotel room key and other documents or items that may contain personal information. Boarding passes and hotel room keys contain personal information that criminals could use to steal your identity, like your name, address, destination and more.
• Refrain from posting pictures of your airline boarding documents, which hold important personal information that can be decoded.
• Shred any unneeded items containing personal information when you get home.

If you are targeted by a vacation scam or fall victim to identity theft, file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by visiting or calling 1-800-382-5516. More information about common travel scams can be found here.

SOURCE: News release from the Office of Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller

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