Montgomery County prosecutor warns residents of summertime scams

The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office is warning residents to be wary of scams that are popular during the summertime and vacationing months.

Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. sent a press release Wednesday morning warning residents of a number of popular scams that look to take advantage of those going on vacation.

They are vacation clubs, vacation certificates, travel agent cards, free trips and grandparent scams.

The prosecutor’s office gives more details on each below:

Vacation Clubs: Be leery of wholesale clubs that claim to offer incredibly cheap vacations if you pay a fee and become a member. More often than not, after the fee is paid the new “member” discovers that the “special offers” are actually available to all consumers. Research accordingly if being courted by one of these clubs and always check the Better Business Bureau.

Vacation Certificates: The intention of a vacation certificate is to prepay for a vacation package. The problem is that, once prepaid, the consumer is given the run-around. The week desired for the vacation is continually not available. There is a fee for redemption. The hoops one has to jump through are enough that most people simply quit trying. If the certificate is ultimately redeemed, the vacation is most often less luxurious than promised. Before prepaying for a vacation be sure to research fees and blackout dates as well as examine the company’s reputation.

Travel Agent Cards: Certain scammers are now promising to issue the consumer a “travel agent I.D.” With the I.D., the consumer is promised discounts that are typically reserved for an actual travel agent. The problem is that the fake cards are never accepted. Not too mention, this practice is illegal. Don’t use a travel agent card unless you are a travel agent.

YOU WON A FREE TRIP!: You see these drawings at restaurants and places of business. Drop your information in the slot and you may WIN A FREE TRIP! Beware of these drawings. Many of the prizes are often scams. When you “win” you have to pay a fee to claim the trip or provide your credit card information which result in identity theft.

Grandparent Scams: People who advertise their travels to the public face a variety of risks. Family members, many times grandparents, can be called by scammers stating that their loved one was hurt during their travels and needs money immediately. Your home is at additional risk if you make known to the public that you are taking your family out of town. Avoid posting on social media or other public platforms your plans to be out of town.

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