Planning Your Next Spring Getaway? Watch Out For These Common Scams

Spring break and, generally, a vacation is a chance to let loose and have fun.

But it’s also one of the best times for scammers to do their thing and exploit naive travelers. Whether it’s an unbeatable “deal” at a hotel or old-fashioned card skimming, scammers have different tactics to get what they want.

If you’re not careful, your vacation can quickly become a nightmare.

Let’s explore some common vacation scams and how to find legit deals without the stress!

Spring Break Scams You Should Be Aware Of

There are plenty of scams that happen during spring break. Here are a few you should know about to avoid falling for them and enjoying a scam-free holiday:

1. Fake Vacation Rentals

Did you ever see a cheap last-minute deal that looked too good to be true? It’s probably because it is.

Many scammers create fake property listings using edited photos, the perfect description, and a lower price than other nearby accommodations. But once you fork over your deposit, the “owner” disappears with your money, and your vacation is over before it starts.

This scam is relatively easy to avoid. Always use legit platforms like Agoda or Booking, insist on seeing the property, and avoid making payments through unsecured methods.

Plus, use Rakuten to get cash back on top of your bookings.

2. Juice Jacking

Imagine returning home from a relaxing spring break only to find out someone hacked your personal accounts.

When someone “juice jacks” you, they do it using charging stations that steal information from your phone as it charges. These tampered stations will install malware on your phone or tablet, putting your personal information at risk.

While it’s tempting to use public chargers when traveling, stay safe and use your own charging devices, get a power bank, or use USB data blockers to protect yourself from data transfers.

3. Travel Website Scams

While looking for deals, you might visit a website offering unbeatable prices you haven’t seen elsewhere. However, some are nothing more than a front to collect your financial details.

Verify the authenticity of any travel site you use. Look for secure payment gateways and double-check the site’s reviews to ensure you deal with a legitimate company.

4. Card Skimming

Card skimming is a common scam where a criminal installs devices on ATMs or card readers to capture card information and PINs. These devices are often hard to spot and can lead to unauthorized transactions on your account.

Inspect the machine for strange attachments or tampered keypads if you’re using an ATM or card reader, especially in tourist-heavy areas. When possible, go for ATMs within bank branches, as they’re less likely to have these issues.

5. Fake Timeshares

The dream of owning a slice of paradise can be enticing, leading many springbreakers to invest in timeshares.

But some of these offers are scams, promising great investments in non-existent properties.

Take your time to research the timeshare company, ask for references from current owners, and never feel pressured to make an immediate decision or payment if it doesn’t feel right.

Read more: Why You Should Never Get a Timeshare

Legit Ways To Find Deals On Your Next Vacay

If you still want to find a great deal while keeping your money safe, here’s what you could do:

1. Use Incognito Mode For Your Searches

Flight and hotel prices often increase with each search based on the cookies in your browser. But when you search in incognito mode, you can explore sites freely without worrying about the sudden price hike.

2. Sign Up for Deal Alerts

Airline, accommodation, and travel deal websites can be a goldmine for discounts.

These alerts and emails often have flash sales, last-minute deals, and exclusive offers unavailable elsewhere. Take advantage of this and adjust your destination preferences to snag the best deals!

3. Bring Out Your Travel Card Points

Hotels and flights in popular destinations are in high demand this year, so expect higher-than-average prices.

If you’ve accumulated points on a travel rewards credit card, spring break could be the perfect time to redeem them.

They can cover a portion of your travel expenses, allowing you to make your spring break more affordable or even splurge a bit more if you want to!

Stay Safe This Spring Break & Travel Season

Every spring break, scammers get away with stealing thousands from innocent travelers who didn’t know any better.

Don’t be that person. Do your research, trust your gut, and protect your data to avoid becoming another victim.

Your spring break or vacation should be filled with fun, relaxation, and adventure—not the stress of dealing with scams!

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