How to Recognize a Scam When on a Vacation  

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As a wide-eyed tourist, you’re so busy taking in the sights and exploring new things that you sometimes miss important details that could potentially be very costly. There are scammers who prey on vulnerable tourists. It’s crucial to be fully aware of your surroundings and to keep an eye on everyone you come in contact with—especially the hospitality professionals you come in contact with at hotels and dining establishments. Be aware of these tactics and follow the tips to protect yourself and your loved ones from devastating travel scams.

The Deal is Too Good to Be True

If the rate on a property rental is a rock-bottom price far below the rates of comparable rentals, that should be a red flag. Ask the property manager why the price is so low. Sometimes these scammers even offer a bonus gift or prize if you pay immediately. Always question a deal that seems too good to be true.

Learn about the legitimacy of the company. Call and ask about their liability insurance. Every reputable rental property should have liability insurance. If they pause and can’t give you a straight answer, chances are this isn’t even a vacation rental company at all. They’re scammers trying to take your cash as quickly as possible.

Keep an Eye on Your Cards

First of all, don’t travel with all of your credit cards. The more you have with you, the greater the potential risk. There is never a reason why a retailer would need to take your card with them to another room, or hand it to another employee. It’s easy for them to copy the card information, or to scan through a “skimmer” machine to duplicate the card. This is an easy way for someone to go on a spending spree on your dime, and it can happen in a flash. You don’t even have to fall for a scam, you just have to be caught unaware.

Track Your Spending

Use your phone or laptop to keep track of your accounts online. You’ll want to catch any fraudulent spending immediately. The sooner it’s caught, the sooner you can stop the scammer, and the better your chances are of collecting your losses.

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Plan Ahead

Do some research before heading out on vacation. Find the reputable establishments when selecting restaurants, bars, hotels, and entertainment venues. Seek out businesses with a good reputation and positive customer feedback. Knowledge is power. Do as much research and planning as you can beforehand, and you’ll be less likely to fall prey to scams. However, sometimes people claim something is a scam, when in reality it is a legitimate business, like the supposed ACN scam.

Trust Your Gut

Possibly the best piece of advice is to follow your gut instinct. If something seems off, or feels like it isn’t quite right, you’re probably spot-on. If something feels wrong, don’t book the vacation rental, demand the merchant hand your card back to you, and question the reputation of the establishments you choose to do business with when you’re on vacation.

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