web analytics

Tag Archive | "scam"

Don’t cruise your way into a vacation scam


Winter and spring are prime months for ocean cruises, but the Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan (BBB) advises consumers to read all of the fine print before signing up for a special cruise deal.
The BBB urges consumers to be especially cautious of unsolicited mail with offers of free or discounted cruises. In 2011, the BBB received more than 1,300 complaints against cruise companies. While legitimate cruise companies do offer specials periodically, there are always those sneaky few that end up leaving consumers on the hook for thousands of dollars.
Many times, scammers will send numerous e-mails, postcards, and other mailings trying to get you to call them in order to claim your “free cruise.” Don’t be fooled by professional looking websites. Gather as much information as you can about the business, and ask a lot of questions before signing on the dotted line.
The BBB and CruiseCritic.com recommend the following tips to consumers who are looking to book a cruise getaway:
· Don’t be a victim. Oftentimes, vacation scammers will use high-pressure sales tactics and make you feel coerced to buy the limited-time deal on the spot. A reputable business or travel agent will provide any information that you request, and give you time to consider your options before booking a vacation.
· Always check the business first. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Before giving a business any personal information, check out their BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org/search. Consumers can also contact the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) for information on finding a reputable travel agent.
· Pay with a credit card. For your best protection against a dishonest cruise provider, always pay for your cruise fare — both the initial deposit and the final payment—with a major credit card such as MasterCard, Visa or American Express. If problems arise, you may be able to dispute the charges with your credit card company. This same protection may not apply to those using debit or check cards; it’s important to confirm policies with your issuing bank before you charge.
· Ensure your money is in the right hands. After you’ve made a payment, review your credit card or bank statement and make sure that any applicable charges originate directly with the cruise line, not with the travel agency. That way, you’ll know that the cruise line has definitely received your money. If you must pay by check or money order, it should be made payable to the cruise line — not to the agency or to an individual.
· Get proper confirmation of your booking. Insist on getting the actual  cruise line’s confirmation numbers, not just a confirmation number from your agency. Not only will you then know that your information and money is in the right hands, but you’ll also be able to pre-reserve shore excursions, restaurant reservations and spa appointments (where available) on the cruise line’s website.
· Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Before signing on the dotted line make sure all of the details have been clearly outlined and the pricing has been thoroughly explained. Double check whether there are hidden cancellation fees, port charges, or insurance processing fees that haven’t been covered.
· Consider investing in travel insurance. Travel insurance can provide protection in the event of an accident, an illness, lost luggage, or a canceled or interrupted trip, among other things. Follow the same steps outlined here when buying travel insurance.
· For more consumer tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org/us/bbb-news.

Posted in BusinessComments Off

SCAM ALERT


The Post received a call from a retired gentleman, in Courtland Township, about a phone call he received this week from someone trying to scam him out of money.

The man said he got the call just before 10 a.m. Tuesday morning. A male caller, with a deep, resonant voice, identified himself as “Sam Davis” and told the man he had won $50,000 in a contest, and that to get his winnings, he needed to go to the nearest Walmart and purchase a green moneypak reload card, and put $350 on it. The caller instructed the man to call him back at 818-627-9802 after he purchased it, and they would set up a meeting at 1:30 so the man could collect his winnings.

Immediately suspicious, (especially since he had never entered a contest) the man did not go get the card, but called the Kent County Sheriff Department instead, and they told him they would send a deputy out to take the report.

“Sam Davis” called the man back about noon and asked if he had gotten the card yet, and the man told him no. “Davis” called back again later in the afternoon, while the deputy was there. But when the deputy got on the phone, the caller hung up.

Later on, after the deputy left, the man received another phone call, this time telling him he had won between $1.2 and $2.3 million in a lottery, and that to get it, he needed to buy a moneypak card and put $250 on it and mail it to him. The caller id showed the call came from Kingston, Jamaica.

The first call came through as “private” but the number shows it is out of California. An Internet search on the number shows this is not the first complaint. Others have experienced a similar scam.

Remember: if you have won any type of lottery or sweepstakes, you will not have to pay out any type of money to collect your winnings.

Posted in NewsComments Off