smartconsumer: Steering Clear of Travel Scams - Know

Steering Clear of Travel Scams

{What to Know} {What to Do}


Dishonest people are sometimes called scammers. They might promise you something exciting such as a great travel deal. The travel deal will require you to first pay some money or attend a “free” seminar. If you attend the “free” seminar, you will be pressured to buy something you did not want. After the scammer gets your money, you will get nothing. This is a travel scam.

How do travel scams work?

You may receive a postcard in the mail, an email or a telephone call. The ad will describe a great travel deal. You may be told that you “won” or were “selected” for free airfare, hotel room or even a cruise vacation! The ad may include a picture of an airplane, hotel or cruise ship. The picture may even include the name of a company you have heard of. That company is not offering the travel deal. Someone stole their picture to make the scam seem more believable.

When you respond to the ad, you will hear more promises. Then, someone will ask you to pay money or attend a “free” seminar. At the seminar, you will be pressured to buy something you do not want. You may be pressured to join an expensive travel club. This could cost you thousands of dollars.

If you pay, you will not get the travel deal you were promised. Instead, you might get:

  • Travel vouchers that require you to pay hundreds of dollars in taxes or fees

  • A travel deal where almost all dates are blocked

  • A travel deal that has so many restrictions that you cannot use it

  • Nothing at all

What does a travel scam look like?

This postcard was sent by a scammer. The scammer stole Southwest Airline’s picture, logo, and name.

Content Last Modified on 2/26/2013 9:51:03 AM