Book a last minute summer trip? The Texans have a warning: “$ 1,806 GONE! “

AUSTIN (KXAN) – It was a weekend bachelorette party for a best friend.

The group had narrowed down the out-of-state location and activities for the May trip.

“Found the 4-wheel ATV riding website and emailed about the details,” the complaint told BBB scam tracker. “I went to the website, booked, added the date, pickup location, number of people, and time.”

The package was also to include horseback riding and zipline. After repeated confirmations, the complaint said the group had never been taken care of and had not yet heard from the company.

“TAKEN OUR MONEY, LIE AND IGNORED ME!” $ 1,806 COMPLETED! The complaint – one of hundreds recently filed – detailed.

Texans spend hundreds of dollars

The Better Business Bureau explained that in the first six months of 2021, Americans lost more than $ 370,000 due to travel incidents across the country and more than $ 190,000 in the past two months. according to reports made to its Scam Tracker.

“Make sure you’re dealing with a reputable site, check their customer reviews and any complaint history,” said Heather Massey, vice president of communications for the Better Business Bureau serving Heart of Texas. “It is important that travelers spend the time researching their accommodation arrangements, rentals and any deals or discounts offered to them by a company and not let a sense of urgency rush them into the booking process. decision.”

The top five most recently reported by the BBB include:

  • Holiday rents. To promise low fees and great amenities.
  • “Free” vacations. Could come with hidden costs.
  • “Free” wi-fi connections. Can get your credit card information.
  • Fake third-party booking sites. You pay with a credit card and get a call from the company asking you to verify name, address, bank information.
  • Timeshare resales. A timeshare owner looking to sell receives a call from someone claiming to be a real estate broker or agent.

Red booking flags

“View multiple locations, compare prices, and if possible, call and contact the owner. One red flag that might not be legitimate is that the owner or management company only wants to communicate by email, ”Massey said.

the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Trade Commission who follows fraud cases explained that other red flags include the inability to get details of cancellation and refund policies in writing before paying, as well as money transfer requests and use of gift cards.

The federal agency also explained online that travelers should ignore calls, texts and emails about vacation specials, adding not to open links that have not been directly verified.

Advice from the FTC and the Attorney General’s Office for travelers:

  • Use a credit card. This gives you more protection than paying with cash, and it might be easier to dispute unauthorized charges.
  • Confirmation of reservations independently. Make sure that what you are booking is a “five star” hotel or rental property.
  • Request information. Go directly to the hotel, rental house, or airline and ask what features are included.

Travelers are encouraged to report their concerns to Texas Attorney General’s Office. A report can also be made with the FTC or the BBB scam tracker.