ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — As COVID-19 restrictions loosen, many are already planning a vacation. However, before jumping online to book your next flight or hotel reservation, there’s some important information you should know.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is putting out a warning about viral travel scams this summer.
Be aware of online scams
The BBB says to watch out for emails, phone calls, letters, or pop-up ads with claims of a “free trip.” If you didn’t sign up for a chance to win a free vacation, you should be suspicious.
Watch out for hidden fees
Many travel companies advertise a “free vacation,” but the BBB says to be on the lookout for hidden fees. Experts suggest booking your trip from a creditable source.
Don’t use public WIFI
While traveling, never use public WIFI. The BBB says this is an easy way for scammers to steal your information. You are encouraged to use a virtual private network (VPN) or a personal hotspot.
There’s an old saying, the early bird gets the worm. If you allow yourself time to research hotels, flights, and the area you will be staying in, the BBB says the chances of getting a good deal are high. Also, the BBB wants to remind travelers to make sure you get all details of the trip in writing before making the final payment.
“Take the time on the front end and make sure, you know, every piece of it you’ve handled with legitimate, trustworthy people and companies,” said Julie Wheeler, President, and CEO of BBB Serving Western Virginia. “Then you can create those memories and you can have that relaxing time.”
Avoid broad web searches
When looking for that sweet deal, the BBB suggests avoiding searching phrases like “best deals” online because broad search terms like that can lead you to websites that are designed to rip people off.
Avoid posting to social media
While you might be excited to share your trip, make sure you don’t share when or where you’re going on social media. The BBB says it’s okay to post vacation pictures, but suggests waiting to do that until you are home for safety reasons.