Norwalk, CT (PRWEB) October 3, 2006
Few things can perk up a dreary day more than the offer of a free trip to a tropical destination. Unfortunately, notes AP9 PrivacyMatters, a leading security and privacy membership program offered by Adaptive Marketing LLC, too often those “free” trips come attached to strings a mile long -- and that’s if you’re lucky. Sometimes, the offers aren’t even attached to reality.
Media coverage of the increase in fraud crimes has focused mostly on credit fraud and identity theft. While both of those crimes are deserving of attention, reports AP9 PrivacyMatters, other fraudulent activities tend to go under-reported. Perpetrators of travel scams, for instance, can use the same technology -- e-mails, fake websites, robo-calling and more -- that credit fraudsters and identity thieves use to cast a wide net in the hopes of attracting unsuspecting prey. And their intentions are the same: To put your money into their pockets for free (or as close to free as possible).
AP9 Privacy Matters offers some practical advice to help travelers avoid those tempting forks in the road that lead to frustration, aggravation or worse:
-- Remember what “free” means. It means “costing nothing.” If a company offers you a “free trip” in exchange for anything, it’s not free. Research any company that offers you a travel deal that sounds too good to be true, and be sure to read the fine print before agreeing to -- or especially signing -- anything.
-- Surf the Internet with a wary eye. Whether it comes in the form of an e-mail, a pop-up window, a banner ad or an unfamiliar website, an unsolicited travel deal from an unknown entity should always raise a red flag in your mind. If it’s too attractive to delete at once, again, do your research and read the fine print.
-- Research the offer, and read the fine print. Is that beginning to sound repetitive? It should; it’s intended to. It can’t be emphasized enough. Deals that sound too good to be true usually are. Your mission, should you choose to accept the invitation, is to confirm beforehand that the deal is indeed true. If your research or your reading turns up even just a hint of ambiguity in the offer or the company making it, walk away. Beyond that, the fine print is where the offer restrictions are usually found. A week’s vacation for the family on the warm, sunny beaches of Florida may seem like a great idea, until you find out that the only weeks available are smack in the middle of the spring school calendar, or that you need to pay double if you want to reserve dates during the holidays.
-- Don’t trust; verify. If you do your research and decide that the company offering a vacation package is on the up-and-up, go the extra mile for your peace of mind. Ask for the names and phone numbers of the airline and hotel involved, then call those numbers to confirm that your reservations have indeed been made, or ask them to confirm that they’re involved in travel packages from the company that contacted you.
-- Give your card issuer credit. The goal of any scammer is to get away with taking as much money from you as possible. Fortunately, federal law says that you’re only liable for the first $50 of any unauthorized charges to your credit card account, and many issuers won’t even charge you for that if you report the problem immediately. Therefore, your safest payment option for online purchases is usually your credit card, assuming you monitor your statements each month.
While some companies can afford to offer something for free as a way to increase brand awareness or store traffic, most “unbelievable” offers are unbelievable for one simple reason: They’re not true. Let caution and common sense be your travel guides as you navigate through scam offers.
Members can log on to their members-only website at PrivacyMatters.com for immediate access to a wide range of benefits that will help them protect and plan their financial future, including 3-in-1 credit reports, computer protections, credit monitoring and much more, concludes AP9 Privacy Matters.
About AP9 PrivacyMatters
AP9 PrivacyMatters is a leading security and privacy membership program offered by Adaptive Marketing LLC. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., Adaptive Marketing is a category leader in both membership and loyalty programs, bringing value direct to consumers through an array of benefits in healthcare, discounts, security, personal property and personals. Members may access their benefits at PrivacyMatters.com. With broad online and offline distribution capabilities, Adaptive Marketing offers its corporate client partners effective tools to enhance market presence, strengthen customer affinity and generate additional value through programs, such as AP9 Privacy Matters.