Alerts Consumers to Telemarketing Travel Fraud

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Don’t hand over your sensitive financial or personal information to a caller who tells you you’ve won a free vacation before taking precautions

"Travel schemes vary, but all fraudsters promise “deals” they can’t possibly deliver to their victims. Sadly, the victim doesn’t realize this until their money is gone." according to

Opportunities to sign up to win a dream vacation are everywhere, at the local shopping centers, trade shows, restaurants, and even through the mail or online. If an individual signs up there is a chance they could receive a phone call, letter or email notifying them that they have won a vacation. Before running to pack their bags, consumers should be aware that there is a chance their “good fortune” may be a complex scheme to steal their money and even their identity.

While legitimate travel opportunities are sold over the phone or offered through the mail and Internet, there is a growing number of scams targeting everyday consumers and swindling them out of millions of dollars.

In some cases fraudsters posing as salespeople or travel agents may call requesting credit card information over the phone in order to bill an individual’s account for additional travel information and instructions for making trip reservations. Then usually an additional charge will be added for the registration process and for any upgrades, some of which are mandatory like port charges, hotel taxes or service fees. As new charges begin to pile up, the “bargain” trip that was promised has begun to cost some real money. Once the travel package has been confirmed and received, consumers may find hard-to-meet travel restrictions or hidden or expensive “conditions” in the fine print. Resulting in many consumers finding themselves paying for a non-refundable vacation they will never be able to take.

**Red Flags for Consumers**

1. Verbal Misrepresentations. Travel schemes vary, but all fraudsters promise “deals” they can’t possibly deliver to their victims. Sadly, the victim doesn’t realize this until their money is gone.

2. High Pressure and “Limited Time Only” Offers. Fraudsters are adamant about needing an individual’s commitment and money immediately and threaten that the limited time offer won’t be available much longer. Typically these con-artists ignore questions or concerns with ambiguous answers or assurances.

3. Follow-up Materials that Don’t Add Up. Some schemers may send written confirmation of the consumer’s purchase or proposed purchase. Typically, it bears little resemblance to the offer accepted over the phone. The written materials often disclose complicated terms, conditions and hidden costs.

**Protect Yourself:**

A. Be suspicious of “great deals,” free and low-priced offers. Legitimate businesses can’t afford to give away expensive trips and services.

B. Don’t be pressured into making snap decisions and purchases. Upstanding businesses don’t expect consumers to make snap judgments. If a caller states that a decision must be made immediately, it’s probably a scam.

C. Ask questions then do the homework. Find out exactly what is covered in the price and what isn’t.
Ask about additional charges and request the names of the hotel, airlines and restaurants included in the package. Once the specific names and businesses are obtained do an online search or use to get the contact information and verify the business name. Contact these businesses directly to verify arrangements.

D. Get the details on cancellation policies and refunds. If the person offering the deal can’t provide detailed answers, chances are it’s probably not a legitimate offer.

E. Do not share personal or financial information until you have verified the legitimacy of the business.
Request all trip information in writing before sharing personal or financial information. After the written information is received, make sure the documents reflect exactly the information that was conveyed over the phone. Don’t send money orders, personal checks, or cash by messenger or overnight mail.

F. Research on the company before making a purchase. Contact the Attorney General or BBB (Better Business Bureau) in the state where the company is located and look for complaints lodged against the travel firm or the travel provider in question.

G. Trust your instincts. If something seems fishy, trust your gut, say “no” and hang up the phone.

About is a consumer website designed to help consumers get the information about businesses and individuals to make informed decisions. provides specific information about a land-line phone or a cell phone, the city where the phone number is located, who owns the phone number, or even the address of the phone. also provides information about the geographic area of the phone number, where other users can share their experiences and insight of the best restaurants, best coffee shops, and most notable sights in the area.


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Juliette Serr
641-715-3900 ext. 134404
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