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Spotting summer travel scams

Spotting summer travel scams
Spotting summer travel scams 03:06

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- After many people were cooped up due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many families want to get away this summer -- but scammers know that, too, and for them, this is a big opportunity.

They want to trick to get your money and they're finding more and more ways to do that.

There are four scams you can keep an eye out for so that you don't get taken advantage of.

The first is a 'Fake Front Desk Call' scam, where you'll get a call that appears to be from the front desk of your hotel. 

"They'll call you usually very early in the morning, or late at night, impersonating the front desk. claiming there was some kind of issue processing payment for your credit card." said Caitlin Driscoll with the Better Business Bureau of Western Pennsylvania.

The individuals on the phone will say they that need to confirm your personal information or that there's an additional fee.

"They may claim you're gonna be kicked out of your hotel room or have to be moved," Driscoll said.

The key with this scam is to not get frazzled, and simply check in with the actual front desk. 

The second summer scam involves fake rental ads for vacation rentals that either don't exist or don't belong to the person posting the advertisement.

"Either the property is grossly misrepresented, or it's not available for rent at all," Driscoll said.

Don't allow yourself to be lured away from legitimate sites in order to get a deal. 

"We're also seeing an uptick in scammers claiming an affiliation with legitimate Airbnb or Vrbo add posting links, posting pictures of actual rentals, and then they're telling them they can save them from paying the platforms extras fees if they pay by Venmo or Zelle or some type of untraceable method," Driscoll said. 

Your radar should go off if you get an unsolicited call from someone who is often impersonating a reputable travel company telling you you've won a free trip. This is the third scam to look out for.

"You have to pay all these additional processing fees, transportation fees, and taxes are involved to the point that the trip, if it even exists, ends up being the same or more expensive than if you had booked it yourself," Driscoll said.

Finally, the last thing to look out for are fake booking sites, ones that appear to look legitimate, but aren't.

"A lot of times, people just do a simple Google search for "cheap flight" to wherever the destination is, and they think they're on the site for an actual airline carrier, which ends up not being the case.

Sometimes these sites want your payment information and never actually book anything for you, and in reality, the hotel or airline has never heard of you.

"So there are people who show up to the airport thinking they're going on a trip, and the airline has never heard of them," Driscoll said.

Driscoll says to make sure you know who you're dealing with, and if you do try to book a trip through a third-party carrier to try and get a great deal, then do some research to see if there are complaints with the BBB or if the company is rated.


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