The season of giving can also become a season of scams. Scammers are lurking to get a hold of any money from hungry shoppers searching for a discount.
Most shoppers are at risk when shopping online or in their emails — including those looking to travel.
They’re not the most common scams, but they are costly.
You may receive emails in your inbox that alert you about a deal. But the president of the Southeast Atlantic Better Business Bureau, Tom Stephens, says don’t click on them.
“The spam folder in your email can be a dangerous place to go because all the crap goes there and all the emails with this beautiful fishing lures,” Stephens said. “We would be very leery of advising people to click on links in any situation unless its a company you’ve worked with before and you know them.”
Instead, he suggests using websites that many are familiar with like Orbitz, Expedia, Hotwire, Kayak, etc.
But he also understands that many are hoping to find the best deal possible.
“You can search different sites for the same flight, let’s say, and figure out which one has the best price. But if that flight is a $1,000 on Expedia, Orbitz, or whatever, and you go to Times Cheap Travel site and it’s $330. Then that’s probably a tip-off that something is wrong,” Stephen explained.
Many may not know whether they’re shopping on a legitimate website.
“If the website is a proxy registration, meaning that the actual owner is hidden, I would be reluctant to put much faith in it quite frankly,” Stephens said.
But you can also call or look up the address on Google Earth to find out if it’s an actual location. To find out if it’s a real website, Stephens suggests calling to obtain the deal, as opposed to entering your information online.
His best advice: “Know who you are dealing with” and “be wary of any offers that are too good to be true.” He says to use reputable websites and choose well-known travel agents/agencies to stay protected.