Before you buy those plane tickets, learn about two topics critical to planning a happy vacation: Travel Notes and Avoiding Travel Scams
Loading Travel Notes
Letting us know where you’ll use your card(s) will help our Risk Management department know what transactions to expect and what transactions might be fraud. You can load a Travel Note via Secured Messaging in Online & Mobile Banking (using the ‘Travel Notification’ subject line) or with our Branch or Contact Center representatives.
Avoiding Travel Scams
Many of us have received a random email or an automated phone call saying we’ve won a free luxury cruise. All that’s required is payment of a few fees ahead of time. Nothing to worry about, right?
If Something Sounds Too Good to be True…
Some of these “fabulous” offers can be either completely fake or simply deceptive, such as including hidden or poorly-disclosed fees. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s website has a useful article on how to avoid Travel Scams, Rental Listing Scams, International Driver’s License Scams, and more.
The Warning Signs of a Scam
When it comes to travel, here are some common warning signs that the offer might not be legitimate:
- You won a ‘free vacation’ – but you need to pay something upfront
- The company contacts you out of the blue
- They won’t give you specifics, such as the identity of the “fancy resort”
- You’re pressured to sign up for a travel club
- You receive a robocall
And here are some warning signs to watch for when looking for a rental property (whether for a short-term, long-term, or permanent basis):
- They want you to wire money
- They want a security deposit or first month’s rent before you’ve met/signed a lease
- They say they’re not in the country but that they have a plan to get you the key
One warning sign of both travel scams and rental listing scams:
- You’re asked to book or pay outside of the official booking app or website
While these warning signs don’t necessarily mean that the offer is a scam, they should motivate you to do further research before you act.
What You Can Do if You Aren’t Sure
When it comes to travel offers that seem too good to be true, there are a couple options for doing your due diligence, especially if you don’t know the company:
- Call the Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the company’s home state to check on complaints
- Search online by entering the company name and the word “complaints” or “scam” and read what other people are saying