More Americans will travel on Labor Day weekend in 2015 than in the previous six years: 34.7 million will hit the road and the skies, according to the American Automobile Association.
Here’s some advice from the Better Business Bureau to those who plan to travel as they celebrate summer’s end.
At the start
Remember that scammers often work schemes on those who are planning their vacations.
▪ Use only reputable websites when booking a vacation. Some of those fabulous-looking listings are fake. Check out the company with the BBB.
▪ Never wire money for vacation rentals.
▪ Whenever possible, pay with a credit card.
▪ Know that airline loyalty account holders are sometimes targeted by phishing scammers who want you to click on a link and provide your ID number and password. Delete suspicious e-mails.
▪ Ignore e-mails that claim to be about a travel itinerary that you know you did not book. They are phishing for credit card numbers and bank info by trying to make you believe there is a problem with your arrangements, or get you to panic at the thought of an incorrectly booked trip.
▪ Beware of any deal that seems too good to be true. It usually is.
▪ Don’t over share information about travel plans on social media. Many burglars watch for vacant homes by reading your posts. Share your photos online only after your trip is over.
Your online security is especially vulnerable while you travel. Use these practices to reduce your risks:
▪ Keep track of your laptop or other devices at crowded airports; they often go missing at security checkpoints, where someone picks up someone else’s property.
▪ Have tracking software installed on your devices just in case they turn up missing.
▪ Remember that 90 percent of public Wi-Fi hotspots are unsecure. Fraudsters can create an evil twin of a public hotspot – a rogue network that looks legitimate. Watch out for pop-up windows seeking information under the guise of updating one of your programs.
▪ Do any online bill paying or banking before you leave home.
▪ Be sure your antivirus and security software has been updated.
Once you’re there
Don’t let a scammer spoil your stay at that favorite vacation spot.
▪ Take precautions when using hotel Wi-Fi.
▪ Scammers can fake calls, claiming to be from the front desk and saying there is a problem with your credit card. Don’t give them any information over the phone.
▪ Takeout menus can be slid under your door in an effort to get you to call a number and order food using your credit card. That’s how they get your information. No food will come. Check with the hotel first to make sure a menu is valid.
Denise Groene is the state director of the Better Business Bureau of Kansas. Contact the bureau at 800-856-2417 or bbbinc.org.