FBI Portland
Beth Anne Steele
(503) 460-8099
August 14, 2018

FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Travel Scams

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week, building a digital defense against travel scams.

It is that travel-filled time of year again folks. Whether you are behind the curveball and trying to squeeze in some last minute summer vacations or completely on top of it and already planning for fall and winter trips, everyone is always on the lookout for a good deal at a great price. However, scam artists know this and will try to take advantage of it as much as they can.

If you are like me, you are constantly getting calls and emails from people telling you that you are the “lucky winner” of an all-expense paid for vacation. Although the offer is tempting, don’t fall for it! How often do you hear of people actually getting their entire trip paid for by a random stranger? Not that often, because it is yet another scam with expensive strings attached. So before you book that discounted hotel room or flight reservation, be sure to keep these travel tips from our friends at the Federal Trade Commission in mind:

  • Just say no to the robocalls. If you answer your phone to another automated message, just hang up and ignore it. Most robocalls are illegal. If you get one of these unwanted calls, report it to FTC.
  • Be vigilant to unexpected emails and text messages. Similar to the automated calls, many scam artists will send you fake deals through both email and text. Remember, if the offer is too good to be true, it probably is. Ignore and delete the messages.
  • Research a company before booking with them. If you do decide to use an agency that offers cheaper deals, be sure to do your research. Look up reviews and ratings to see if other customers were satisfied with the services that they received.
  • Know the cancellation policy. Before booking, take time to ask about the company’s refund policies for flight reservations, car rentals, and hotel bookings. Get these policies in writing.
  • Pay with credit card. If you have gone through all of these steps and feel good about booking with the company, use your credit card to pay. This will give you more protection than paying with cash, check, or a debit card. If you end up not getting what you paid for, this will enable you to dispute the charges with your credit card company.

If you have been victimized by an online scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.