Whether you love a sunny beach, sightseeing around a historic town, or skiing down a snowy mountain, everyone enjoys a nice vacation. Unfortunately, scammers prey on consumers’ desire to get away from it all. Click below to find information on some common travel scams.

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Travel Clubs

  • “Travel clubs” often contact consumers using postal flyers, text messages, or cold calls that promise to save them several thousands of dollars on future trips.
    • These solicitations generally “invite” consumers to a conference where they can take advantage of an “amazing opportunity” and receive a free trip just for attending.
    • When consumers attend such a conference, they often experience high pressure sales tactics.
    • Often the “free trip” is a voucher that is difficult or impossible to redeem.
  • To avoid travel club scams, consumers should:
    • Be skeptical of offers that claim they have won a contest that they did not enter.
    • Be skeptical of solicitations that fail to disclose the name of the soliciting company.
    • Research their right to cancel prior to going to a sales presentation.
    • Be skeptical of companies that use generic names or work out of what appears to be a short-lease office space.


  • A timeshare is a resort or vacation property with a fractional ownership structure or divided use rights.
    • Depending on the type of timeshare you purchase, you may own a portionof a vacation unit for the rest of your life, for a certain number of years specified in a purchase contract, or until you sell it.
    • Your interest is legally considered real property.
  • Do not purchase a timeshare under pressure or on impulse.
    • Timeshares entail lasting financial obligations; you should carefully study purchase documents and research properties before deciding to purchase a timeshare.
  • In calculating the total cost of a timeshare, include mortgage payments and expenses like travel costs, annual maintenance fees, taxes, closing costs, broker commissions, and finance charges.
    • Maintenance fees can rise at rates that equal or exceed inflation.
    • You must pay fees and taxes, regardless of whether you use the unit.
  • Timeshares can be difficult to sell or even give away.
    • Some scammers offer to help dissatisfied timeshare owners ‘get out of their timeshare contract’ for a fee.
    • The only way to lose ownership of a traditional timeshare is to sell it.
    • If someone offers to help you sell your timeshare, ask about fees and timing: it is better to work with a company that takes its fee after the timeshare is sold.
    • If you must pay a fee in advance for help selling your timeshare, ask about refund policies and get all promises in writing.

Travel Fees

  • Travel fee scams, particularly by online operators, are rising.
    • Whenever possible, book directly with the hotel instead of a third-party source.
    • If you use third-party booking sites or travel agencies, do independent research to ensure that they are reputable.
  • Paying with a credit card can offer you more protections than paying with debit cards, wire transfers, cash, and other payment methods.
    • If you think you may have been charged unwarranted fees or otherwise been scammed, contact either your credit card company or bank right away.
  • If a deal requires you to pay upfront fees, be skeptical.
    • Contact the carrier or hotel directly and ask if they are aware of the offer.
    • Hotels and carriers often know about scams that use their name or likeness without authorization.