With the summer holiday season drawing near, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning consumers to watch out for travel scams.
The ACCC has received 1,650 complaints about travel scams this year, with $100,000 reported lost. Most complainants were contacted by phone and many were offered holiday vouchers for $2,000 or $3,000. Others were sold fake trips to Florida or the Bahamas including tickets to theme parks or cruises at greatly discounted rates.
“While you are making plans for a hard-earned break, scammers are plotting to steal your hard-earned dollars,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard warned.
Simply searching online for a holiday can alert scammers that you are a potential target and they won’t hesitate to approach you with travel vouchers or offers that always turn out to be too good to be true.
“Watch out for these fraudsters cold calling and announcing that you’ve won a travel prize, ranging from discount accommodation vouchers to whole holiday packages. To redeem the prize, you will be asked to provide personal information such as your credit card and drivers’ licence details before they can send it to you,” Ms Rickard said.
“Sometimes scammers will provide authentic-looking tickets and itineraries but when it comes time to travel, these documents are useless and the business cannot be contacted.”
Scammers have also recently been targeting homes and businesses with a fraudulent phone message from QANTAS or Virgin, which claims they have won a ‘travel prize’ or ‘credit points’ – typically $999 – towards their next holiday. In order to redeem the credit, you have to answer several questions, including handing over credit card details so that the ‘prize’ can be processed.
Further information on travel scams is available on the SCAMwatch(link is external) website.