Spring breakers should beware of scams

Better Business Bureau

Spring break is around the corner. Every year, approximately 1.5 million students make their way south to hit the waves and relax in the sun or hit the slopes, spending more than $1 billion. But, if you’re not careful, you could be caught up in a scam.

Your Better Business Bureau offers tips to avoid scammers.

Today through March 8 is National Consumer Protection Week, a time to review tips for fending off scam artists and ensuring your spring break is enjoyable. Each year, hundreds of college students get ripped-off by fraudulent spring break offers that promise, but fail to deliver that much needed vacation. But, not all offers involve losing money, some are simply misleading. The accommodations may not be what you thought you paid for.

As you plan your vacation, your BBB suggests simple tips to keep you safe:

• Get recommendations. Ask family and friends about companies they’ve used. If they’re pleased with who they’ve used most likely you will too.

• Don’t provide personal information, including bank account numbers, credit card information or Social Security numbers over the phone until you’ve verified the company is legitimate.

• Beware of someone saying you won a free vacation, but wants you to pay fees, etc. A legitimate company won’t ask you to pay for a prize.

• Never pay with cash. Pay with a credit card, so you can dispute unauthorized charges with your credit card company.

• Get a confirmation number at time of booking. Also, be sure to get a copies of cancellation policies.

• Watch out for deals that sound too good to be true. Legitimate businesses won’t give away products and services to undercut other companies’ prices.

• Consider investing in travel insurance. Travel insurance can provide protection in the event of an accident, an illness, lost luggage or a canceled or interrupted trip.

• Avoid hidden costs. Get everything in writing, if you’re pressured to sign, just walk away. Trustworthy companies will give you plenty of time to make a decision.

• Verify your reservations with the airline, cruise line or hotel. Make sure you contact them directly to verify your travel arrangements.

• Ask lots of detailed questions.

Remember, you should also consider consulting a reliable travel agent or travel service. They can negotiate preferred rates with certain hotel/motel chains, airlines. etc.

Your BBB can provide lists of BBB Accredited Businesses in this industry and business reviews on ones you’re considering. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

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