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How to Detect Travel Scams

Updated on February 28, 2015

Travel Offers

If you are like me who love travel deals, such as cheap hotels or discount travel packages and so on, have you ever been scammed on travel offers or having problems detecting travel scams? If so,you are not alone! A day or two ago, I did a hub on how to get great travel discounts. Ironically, a day later, a friend of mine whom I haven't seen or heard from for quite some time, happened to call me from New York.

Of course, I was very happy to hear from him, but at the same time sad to know that he was going through a rather difficult time. He told me that his sister was throwing him out of her house because he had lost his job and also had fallen for a travel scam that he is currently paying for. As a result, he had not been able to shoulder his share of responsibilities as he should.

To everyone out there who has been scammed before, those who have not been scammed yet, or is currently having problems detecting travel scams, this is what you should bear in mind, before you make any decision to accept any travel offers. First, if you suddenly! get a telephone call, email or letter stating that you have won a free vacation, and you know for sure you did not enter your name for any type of sweepstakes etc; shouldn't you be somewhat skeptical about this?

Okay! let's say hypothetically you were told that names were drawn randomly from a mailing list or from a store's customer list, and you have happened to be selected for a free or extremely low-priced vacation trip to a popular destination(usually Hawaii or Florida). Instinctively, these are a few things that you should look for, question, and raise the flag for :

  • A price that is obviously too good to be true (???)
  • You are asked to give your credit card number via telephone (raise flag)
  • You are pressured to make a decision immediately (raise flag)
  • The carrier simply identified as a "major carrier" (raise flag)
  • The person who happened to call you or contacted you was unable to state specifically which airline you will be boarding, but instead offered a collection of airlines (raise flag)
  • No mentioned refund policy (raise flag)
  • No physical address, email address or a listed telephone number for the company ( raise flag)
  • You are told that you are unable to depart for at least 2 months prior to paying for the trip (raise flag)

When in doubt always go with you gut feeling! If you feel the price is too good to be true, it probably is, or it could be that there might be a hidden catch to it. Make sure you listen keenly, pay close attention, and ask questions in regards to all the other points listed above.

Finally, scam artists know that, a person normally has a period of 60 days to dispute charges made to his/her credit card, so if you are told that you will not be able to leave for at least 2 months, this should cause you to immediately raise a flag! In these times and ages you have to avoid making hasty decisions as much as possible. There are too many scam artists out there lurking around, trying to find their next victim. Be careful!


No doubt, some travel deals are real, but others can certainly raise suspicions at times, especially the famous sweepstakes giveaway. Although the above list are usually some of the important things that you should always be on the alert for, you should also look for other acts of deception, simply because scam artists often change their tactics from time to time.


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