Over the river and through the woods is not nearly as close as it used to be; and if trends reflect AAA's 2011 estimates, approximately 91 million people will travel at least 50 miles over the holidays. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington is reminding potential travelers to watch out for common scams:
- ATM Skimming: When paying at the pump for gasoline, keep an eye out for unusual-looking card readers, false keypads and suspicious cameras.
- Email Chain Letters: Inboxes are flooded with free or cheap offers for 5-star accommodations, airline tickets or cruise passes, but clicking links may install malware or viruses. Avoid unsolicited too-good-to-be-true offers.
- Front Desk Calls: Hotel guests receive calls from “the front desk” asking them to verify payment information, but the callers are actually scammers.
- Sketchy Cab Drivers: Be wary if drivers claim that certain hotels or motels are closed and “suggest” other locations; there may be incentives for drivers to create business for less-than-ethical companies. Check bbb.org to find reliable taxi services.
- Social Engineering: Swindlers use social media to obtain personal information about travel plans. Avoid posting specifics that entice thieves to loot temporarily vacant homes. Also, be wary of sudden calls or emails regarding flights or vacation packages; never provide personal information or credit card numbers to unsolicited inquirers.
Consider a BBB Accredited Travel Agency when making plans this holiday season. Schedule as early as possible to avoid higher prices and leave gifts unwrapped if flying.