Travel Scams Podcast Transcript
Welcome to the Informed Consumer, providing the latest tips and tools to assist consumers in making informed decisions, from the Fairfax County Consumer Affairs Branch.
Today’s topic is: Travel Scams.
There are many areas of consideration when planning a trip: determining dates of travel; travel insurance; and also who to book your travel with. There are ways to protect ourselves when planning travel logistics.
- Never give your credit card number to any person or business which solicits you by phone, fax or postcard.
- Beware of advance payment requirements until you receive information about restrictions, cancellation and change penalties.
- If you are given insufficient details, request written information on total cost of the vacation and all items included. Any transportation, lodging, meals or other items not specifically mentioned may not be included.
- Beware of high pressure sales presentations or offers which are “good today only.” Insist on time to evaluate the offer.
- Beware of travel presentations which require you to disclose your income.
- Check travel prices with an established travel agent and contact Fairfax County Consumer Affairs Branch to determine if there is a case history on the firm in question.
- Beware of firms that ask you to pay before confirming reservations. Reputable travel agents will confirm reservations before accepting payment.
- Beware of returning a call to a “900” phone number in response to a travel solicitation. The cost of your phone bill could amount to the cost of the trip.
- If airline tickets are included in the cost of the trip, always ask if the travel agent is certified by the Airline Reporting Corporation or ARC, a settlement and travel services firm owned by the airlines. Request the suppliers’ eight digit ID number or Certificate of Accreditation with ARC. ARC’s Customer Service number is 703-816-8003. You may also verify whether the supplier is affiliated with the International Airlines Travel Agent Network or IATAN by calling 877-734-2826. IATAN and ARC card numbers can be verified online at www.tsa.gov . Financial resolutions are facilitated when the travel supplier is a member of these associations.
- Before you fly, visit the Transportation Security Administration's website at www.tsa.gov to review the items which are permitted and prohibited in carry-on luggage.
- Review the current procedures itemized at security checkpoints.
Thanks for listening to the Informed Consumer. For more information on this topic or if you feel that you’ve been a victim of a scam, please contact the Consumer Affairs Branch at 703-222-8435 or visit our web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/consumer. Informed Consumer is produced by the Fairfax County, Virginia, government.