Coastal vacation scam artists take people's money with promises of phony vacations. Many of these offers use words like "cheap Hawaiian vacation" to lure travelers.
Most people dream of taking a coastal vacation. They may hope for a cheap Hawaiian vacation package or dream of a coastal vacation resort weekend.
But many coastal vacation scams disguise themselves as legitimate offers. Police report an increase in coastal vacation scams in recent years.
The Internet spawned a new breed of coastal vacation scam artist wanting to cheat honest consumers out of their money. Anyone who types in cheap Hawaiian vacation package into a "Google" search engine will find over one million his.
The Federal Trade Commission reported 3,600 consumers scammed in 2002, amounting to $3.5 million. How can consumers tell the difference between a coastal vacation scam and an honest cheap vacation package?
- Many people operating coastal vacation scams will ask for a credit card or other financial information early in the conversation. Many of these so-called vacation companies want consumers to give their financial information online for a "cheap Hawaiian vacation."
The desire by the company to receive financial information before the consumer feel comfortable doing so should indicate a red flag and a possible coastal vacation scam.
Many cases of identity fraud started with coastal vacation scams. Consumers receive their bank or credit card statements and find that in addition to their "cheap Hawaiian vacation," charges of cash advances and purchases of high-dollar merchandise.
Consumers who fall prey to identity fraud should contact their local law enforcement immediately about the coastal vacation scam.
- The company operating coastal vacation scams will offer the consumer very little details about the planned trip. The person on the other line, on the phone or on the Internet, will offer constant assurances the hotel in the cheap Hawaiian vacation package features Oceanside views, luxuries rooms and private balconies---very broad descriptions.
The "seller" of the coastal vacation scam may claim they stayed there many times but cannot give specifics.
The company asks the consumer not to contact the hotel or resort directly about the vacation package, another sign of a coastal vacation scam.
If the consumer cannot confirm the reservations with the hotel directly, the consumer should look elsewhere for a cheap Hawaiian vacation. Consumers should get the details and take charge of their coastal vacation and not fall prey to coastal vacation scams.
- Coastal vacation scam artists use word like "free" or "vacation offer." Often these so-called "offers" include a daylong presentation before families can use their free tickets--a common coastal vacation scam technique.
If consumers cannot see the islands on their cheap Hawaiian vacation and must sit through lengthy presentations, the vacation may not seem so "cheap."
- The Better Business Bureau and other government agencies maintain lists of coastal vacation scams. Smart consumers check these lists and report any contact by these coastal vacation scam artists.
One of the more popular ruses offers a cheap Hawaiian vacation or a cheap family vacation package.
Fear of a coastal vacation scam should not keep consumers from seeking out great vacation deals, like a cheap Hawaiian vacation.
Many companies offer legitimate family vacation packages and an honest travel incentive program that saves families even more money on their vacation costs. Coastal vacation scams should not discourage travelers.