Summer Travel Scams Ruin the Fun
May 18, 2016
The school year is winding down, and many Arkansans are making summer vacation plans. Whether it is a trip to the beach, an exotic location, somewhere abroad, or one of Arkansas’s many lakes or State parks, Arkansans should keep a watchful eye to avoid falling victim to vacation scams.
Scam artists are using the Internet, including online advertising and social media to pitch free or deeply discounted travel deals. Many of these attempt to convince you that your friends and family members are taking advantage of this offer and you should too. Meanwhile, others are offering vacation rentals that look too good to be true. Travelers make the reservation and show up at the home or condo, only to find it was never up for rent and a scam artist stole photos and listing information to trick you out of hard earned cash.
It is possible to find a good travel deal or even win a vacation. However, if the phone call or email notifying you of the prize is unsolicited, it is probably a scam.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued today’s consumer alert to educate Arkansans about some common vacation scams.
“Sometimes people let their guard down when planning or while on vacation,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But fraudsters are constantly looking for new ways to steal your money or financial information and know that you may be an easier victim while away from home. It is important for all Arkansans to remain diligent in protecting their private information, whether home or away.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following list of common scams vacationers could encounter:
- Gasoline Scam: Someone approaches with a convincing story that they ran out of gas and money. They only need $40 to fill up the tank and may even offer to mail a check to repay you. The likelihood that the repayment will be received is slim. Either refuse to give the person money or pay for the fuel at the nearest service station with the person to ensure the money is spent as intended.
- Airport Taxi Service Scam: A “taxi driver” approaches and mentions he is off duty but trying to make some extra money and offers a ride, but he ends up taking the scenic route traveling miles out of the way to boost the fare. To avoid this scam, ensure the taxi driver is on duty, licensed and metered.
- Fake Front Desk Phone Call Scam: Scam artists call hotel rooms directly, often in the middle of the night while guests are disoriented by being woken up. They say there has been a computer glitch and they need to verify your credit card information. Hang up and go directly to the front desk to verify the call.
- Wi-Fi Hot Spot Scam: Crooks can create their own Wi-Fi spot and give it a similar name to an actual hotspot. Then these scammers can spy on everything the user does, from accessing bank accounts to making online purchases. Be sure to ask the hotel or restaurant what their Wi-Fi name is before logging on.
For more information on safe summer travel and other consumer-related issues or to file a consumer complaint, contact the Attorney General's office at (800) 482-8982 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.