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BBB offers spring breakers tips to protect against scams

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OKLAHOMA CITY – With spring break around the corner, many are looking for great deals on trips – and others for ways to turn ‘deals’ into scams.

The Better Business Bureau of Central of Oklahoma City is now advising those who are planning vacations on how to protect themselves.

While searching and preparing for a getaway this time of year, scammers are also searching and preparing – for ways to steal or rip off money.

“Scammers know people are searching for the best and least expensive deals on a vacation. Be wary of offers that say ‘all-inclusive’ or that you’ve ‘won’ a trip,” said Kitt Letcher, president and CEO of  the BBB. “If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.”

Letcher said it’s important to be cautious when planning a spring break vacation.

Below are tips from the BBB on how to avoid travel scams and ensure a worry-free trip:

  • Use reputable websites. Check out travel agencies at bbb.org/oklahomacity or search the Accredited Business Directory. If you’re using services like Airbnb or VRBO to find accommodations, be sure to research the business and read customer reviews about any rentals you’re considering.
  • Get details about your trip in writing. Before providing any form of payment, get everything in writing. Make sure all verbal agreements are also provided in writing. Review all terms and conditions, taxes and fees, and cancellation policies. Confirm all reservations, total cost, flights, hotel reservations, cancellation policies or any restrictions that may apply.
  • Use a credit card as payment. Paying by credit card offers additional protection should something go wrong or you need to dispute a charge. Never send a wire transfer or prepaid money card for an unsolicited offer as these types of payments are difficult to track and make it impossible to get your money back.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance is designed to cover such things as trip cancellations or medical emergencies. There are different levels of coverage based on what type of plan you purchase. Always read the fine print to see what’s covered and what’s not.
  • Use caution when considering deals. If a deal or package offers a lot for a very low price, be wary. Watch out for phone calls, emails, faxes and mail claiming that you’ve “won a trip.” It’s easy to extend phony offers like these, but the vast majority of them leave hopeful travelers in limbo – and out money. Also, be wary of free trip offers being shared or going viral on social media platforms like Facebook. Often, these posts are tricks to capture your personal information and not to send you on a vacation.

Report fraudulent behavior with BBB’s Scam Tracker.