BBB offers tips for planning your vacation Published June 8, 2023 By John North, President/CEO Better Business Bureau Better Business Bureau shares advice for hiring a tax preparer Photo Details / Download Hi-Res WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Vacations are a great way to relax, refresh and reset your mind, making you able to return to work with a clear head and take on what lies ahead. Though vacations are great, planning can be stressful and with scammers finding new tactics during vacation planning season, it makes it that much harder to plan. Scammers will often target people looking for great deals online by offering tempting vacation packages at unrealistically low prices. Don’t let scammers steal your money and/or personal information. To avoid getting scammed, Better Business Bureau offers these tips: Plan weeks in advance of your trip. The earlier reservations are made, the better the deals and lower the risk of the destination being booked. Look for photos and a variety of reviews. If the property or company doesn't have any online reviews, ask for references and call them. Avoid entering phrases like ‘best deals’ into search engines. It can bring up websites that look official, but are designed solely to rip people off. Ignore letters or phone calls claiming you’ve won a free trip you didn’t sign up for. Get details of the trip in writing, including total cost, restrictions, cancellation penalties, airlines and hotels. Keep a copy of the airline’s and hotel’s cancellation and refund policies, as well as the cancellation policies of the travel agency or booking site used. Consider investing in travel insurance to cover cancellations or medical emergencies. Carry only necessities in your wallet while you travel. Avoid wiring money or using a prepaid debit card. Pay with credit card to provide protection in case you need to dispute charges. Don’t post vacation pictures online while on vacation. It only lets thieves know your house is empty. Post them when you get home. Consider hiring a travel agent to help with your planning. Let your bank and credit card companies know you’re traveling. Don’t use public Wi-Fi to access sensitive accounts. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN) or a personal hotspot if you need a more secure connection. Set up the “find my phone” feature on your devices to find, remotely wipe data and/or disable the device if it gets into the wrong hands. Place a hold on your mail while away, so mail with account information isn’t piling up. If you believe you’re a victim of a vacation scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker at BBB.org/ScamTracker. To learn more about vacation planning, visit bbb.org/all/travel-leisure. And always, put the BBB to work for you by visiting BBB.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.