PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) – If you’re planning a vacation and need to book a flight or rent a car, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers tips to make sure you don’t fall victim to a ploy.
the latest travel issues from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) show an increase of nearly 1.6 million passengers passing through airport checkpoints compared to the same period last year.
“People are in desperate need of a change of scenery this summer,” said BBB’s local marketing and sales director Paula Fleming, adding that consumer confidence is increasing as more and more people make their way. immunize and that the restrictions are lifted.
According to Fleming, the BBB is seeing an increase in car and airline rental programs across the country.
For rental cars, the schemes stem from the recent shortage which has caused prices to skyrocket.
“Whether you’re renting a house, renting a cabin, or renting a car, it’s limited right now because a lot of people are doing it,” she says.
Fleming said the way the car rental program works is that potential victims think they’ve found a lot of stuff on one and then are asked to pay with a prepaid debit card or gift card. It’s a huge red flag, according to Fleming.
“Scammers prefer these types of payments because there is nothing you can do once you provide this information to get your money back,” she explained.
When it comes to the airline planFleming said people received solicitations through calls, emails and social media.
“Whenever you book travel online it is extremely important to make sure that you are using a reputable company and a secure website,” she said.
When booking a flight or rental car, always use a credit card to pay, Fleming advised. She also said that if you have credit for a rescheduled trip, like a cruise or a flight, be sure to read the fine print as they could be a time limit for using it.
Here are more tips from the BBB to protect yourself from a car rental program:
- Use the contact details listed directly on the company website, instead of relying on an internet search for customer support phone numbers. (Also check the URL.)
- Beware of sponsored links. Fake websites sometimes appear in the sponsored ads section of your web browser and appear at the top of search results. Be careful when you click! Hover over the URL to make sure it’s the correct one.
- If in doubt, check special offers directly with the company. If you are unsure of a promotional offer, get the customer service number from the company’s official website. Call the company directly to make sure the deal is real.
Here are other tips from the BBB to protect yourself from an overhead system:
- Do your research. If you come across a business that you’ve never dealt with before, research it before you make any purchases. Look on BBB.org for reviews and comments from previous customers.
- Check the URL before entering your personal and payment information. It can be easy to click on a sponsored ad or impostor website without noticing. Before entering sensitive information, make sure you are on the correct website and that the link is secure. (Secure links start with https: // and include a lock icon on the purchase page. Learn more here.)
- Beware of third party websites. Some websites seem to be offering a legitimate service, but are just fronts for a scam. Beware of websites without a working customer service number and without a physical address. Typos and grammatical errors can also be indications of a crook’s work.
- Shop online with your credit card. Fraudulent charges made on a credit card can usually be disputed, while other payment methods may not. Unfortunately, there is no way to retrieve the personal information you have shared.