CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey reminded consumers to protect their identity and finances when making travel arrangements.
Scammers know summer is a popular time for travel. They will actively watch for and take advantage of any consumer who appears to be rushed and unknowingly or inadvertently fails to take adequate precautions.
“It’s very important for consumers to make sure they are dealing with legitimate people or agencies when making their travel arrangements,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “They also must ask adequate questions and read the fine print because the last thing anyone wants is to have their rest and relaxation interrupted by the unexpected.”
Fortunately, there are several things consumers can do to ensure a stress-free vacation:
- Deal with an established company.
- Never underestimate the value of reviews from family members, friends or reputable travel websites.
- Be wary of scams that advertise spectacular deals on rental houses, condos or hotels. Sometimes, the listing is for a property that doesn’t even exist.
- Paying with a credit card provides certain protections that enable consumers to dispute certain charges for services not provided.
- Do not give credit card information unless ready to be charged for a product or service. Any company that asks to be paid via money order or pre-paid debit card should raise a red flag.
- Carefully read the fine print of any offer. Be wary of those that sound “too good to be true” or offer little detail.
- Know cancellation and refund policies.
- Confirm reservations before departure.
- Keep a close eye on banking and credit card statements during and following travel.
- Be careful when posting to social media while away. It lets potential intruders know your home is vacant and an easy target.
Anyone with questions or concerns about smart vacation planning should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.