June 26, 2024

Traveler with suitcase

MADISON (WKOW) — As summer months approach, the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau is reminding travelers to be on the look out for scams.

The 16-week period between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend has historically been one of the busiest travel times in the U.S.

With an increased interest in travel, scammers will be looking to take advantage.

“They can take a variety of forms, either as sweepstakes, airfare, timeshare, or rental scam, and can completely disrupt even the most meticulously planned travel schedule. Spontaneous traveling can be a lot of fun – but it is important that travelers spend the time to research their lodging arrangements, rentals, and any deals or discounts that they are offered by a business and do not allow a sense of urgency to rush them through the decision-making process,” said Jim Temmer, president/CEO of Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin.

The BBB provided a list of the top five most-reported travel scams:

  • Vacation rental con. These con artists lure in vacationers with the promise of low fees and great amenities. The “owner” creates a false sense of urgency – such as telling potential clients that another vacationer is interested in the rental – to get payment up before doing sufficient research or questioning the legitimacy of the ad.
  • “Free” vacation scams. When a cruise or travel company advertises a vacation as “free,” it does not necessarily mean the trip is without cost or restrictions. Watch out for add-on fees for air transportation to the port, port charges, taxes, tips, and other undisclosed fees.
  • Hotel scams. When staying in a hotel, beware of scammers who use various techniques to obtain credit card information, including fake front desk calls, “free” wi-fi connections, and fake food delivery. 
  • Third-party booking site scams. If you book your airfare, hotel, or other travel through a third-party website, be sure to use caution. BBB Scam Tracker continues to receive reports of scammers pretending to be online airline ticket brokers. In the most common version of the scam, travelers pay with a credit card and, shortly after making the payment, receive a call from the company asking to verify their name, address, banking information, or other personal details – something a legitimate company would never do.
  • Timeshare reselling cons. A timeshare owner looking to sell gets a call from someone claiming to be a real estate broker or agent. These scammers claim to specialize in timeshare resales and promise they have buyers ready to purchase. To secure this service, the scammer pressures the target into paying an upfront fee. The timeshare owner pays up, but the reselling agent never delivers.

To avoid scams, the BBB recommends getting trip details in writing and to avoid wiring money or using a prepared debit card to pay.

For more tips on planning your summer vacation travel plans, visit BBB.org