That free vacation may end up costing you

What better way to travel than winning a free vacation, right? Well that free vacation may cost you more than if you would have booked the trip on your own. Or, it could result in having your credit and bank account information stolen.

››RELATED: Don't take the click bait

Common travel scams involve time share promotions, free plane tickets, free vacation packages, limited time offers, disappearing discounts and fake hotel and condo locations. These offers often come via e-mail, phone or through click bait ads. Some claim you’ve won a trip with no strings attached. However, you must pay to make your reservation. Or, the fees you must pay to secure your reservations, book flights or hotels are considerably more than normal.

Better Business Bureau offers these tips to ensure the vacation you plan is legit:

Know the warning signs. Warning signs include high-pressure sales tactics, flashy ads and too-good-to-be-true deals.

Comparison shop. Before you make any decisions, look for similar travel deals on trusted websites. If you compare different deals, you may find one cheaper than the original offer.

Understand the agreement terms. Get everything in writing, including a full description of the package and all terms, conditions and restrictions. If the site or person you're speaking to won't provide you with this information, it's a red flag.

Be wary of unsolicited offers. Unsolicited telephone calls, e-mails or mailings are much more likely to be fraudulent than those from travel agencies you have contacted.

Protect your payments. Never make any payments to unknown companies before doing research and never send a payment by wire transfer or cash. Always pay by credit card, which offers some protection if you are scammed. There is no way of recovering your money if you pay by wire transfer or cash.

Ask questions. If you can't get answers to your questions, avoid using the company.

For more information to ensure a safe, fun vacation, contact your BBB by visiting or by calling 937-222-5825 or 800-776-5301. It can provide a list of BBB Accredited travel-related companies and Business Profiles on ones you're considering.

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