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Don't be fooled by travel scams

and no lost luggage
Creative Commons
and no lost luggage

White collar crime expert Steve Weisman talks with KSFR consumer reporter Mary Lou Cooper about travel scams.

Examples of travel scams:

  • Travelers are lured to phony travel sites such as those that resemble Expedia or Tripadvisor or hotel sites;
  • Con artists take advantage of fliers who toss their boarding passes;
  • Scammers post phony web sites for car rentals; and
  • Criminals run scams in hotels with under-the-door flyers for fake take-out.

Tips to avoid travel scams:

  • Use your debit card only as an ATM card.  Pay for travel with your credit card.
  • Tear up your paper boarding passes.
  • Check out suspicious travel websites by going to Whois.com or ICANN.com.
  • Be skeptical.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

And this just in:
After our KSFR travel scam story was filed, a new alert from Scamicide was issued relating to passports. Increased demand for foreign travel has outpaced the federal government’s ability to process passport applications in a timely way, even if you pay an extra fee to expedite processing. What’s an annoyance for travelers is an opportunity for scammers who set up phony sites claiming they can speed up your application. People who use these web sites can wind up paying for passports they never receive or giving con artists personal information that can lead to identity theft. The U.S. State Department is the only place to apply for or renew a passport. The link is: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports.html. Plan ahead.

Steven Weisman is the publisher of Scamicide, an on-line newsletter devoted to consumer protection.  He’s also a professor of white-collar crime at Bentley University in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Mary Lou Cooper reports on consumer issues for KSFR as well as on politics and elder affairs. She has worked for the U.S. Congress as well as for the Nevada and Tennessee legislatures, and remains a political junkie. She worked many years for an association of Western state legislatures and was a contributor to “Capitol Ideas,” a national magazine about state government. In 2016 Cooper received a public service award from the New Mexico Broadcasting Association for her KSFR story on Internet romance scams. She has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and from the National Federation of Press Women. She grew up in Oak Ridge, TN and received her BA from Emory University in Atlanta and her MA from the University of Texas Austin. She also holds fiction and screenwriting certificates from the University of Washington.