Beware of summer travel scams

Every summer it seems like we learn about another travel scam. Don't be fooled this travel season. 

Melanie Duquesnel, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Michigan, shares some tips for avoiding getting scammed. 

How should you pick the travel agency to help book your trip?

Ask for recommendations from family and friends regarding travel agencies/agents and websites that they have used in the past and have been satisfied.

Check out or find BBB Accredited Businesses at

Will a verbal confirmation from the agent be sufficient?

Not at all. Be sure to get all of the vacation details in writing, including travel itineraries, booking confirmations and vouchers. 

Ask for a copy of the company's cancellation and refund policies and read all of the fine print to ensure you understand your rights if there is an emergency or if you are dissatisfied with the services.

Would it be beneficial to verify reservations with all intended travel providers?


You should contact the airline, rental car company, hotel and/or cruise line directly to confirm arrangements have actually been made to your specifications.

There have been victims of travel scams that discovered the reservations were never made and the confirmation numbers provided by the travel agency were fake.

What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance is designed to cover the times that things go wrong unexpectedly, such as a trip cancellation, death in the family or medical emergency.

But before you purchase any type of travel insurance, be sure to understand the exact circumstances the travel insurance will cover and read all of the fine print.

What method of payment should be used?

Credit card. Paying with a credit card gives you additional protection. We also recommend, prior to your trip, that you contact your credit card company to make your travel plans known to the company.

What about all those "free trips" people win?

If it's too good to be true and the person on the other line is telling me I won a trip, it probably is too good to be true.

Like getting a good deal, it's certainly possible to win a vacation. However, if you didn't enter a contest, though, you probably didn't win anything but a phone call or email from a scammer. It's usually a red flag when you receive a phone call out of the blue.

What are some other items we should watch out for?

Companies asking for upfront payments

Companies without solid cancellation provisions