Oregon DOJ: Six tips to avoid vacation scams

SALEM, Ore. - Not sure if you're dealing with a travel scam? Here are six warning signs that your sun-filled getaway isn't what it seems:

1.    You "won a free vacation," but you have to pay some fees first. A legitimate company won't ask you to pay for a prize.

2.    The prize company wants your credit card number. Even if they say it's just for "verification," "taxes," or "port fees," don't give it to them.

3.    They cold-call, cold-text, or email you out of the blue. Before you do business with any company you don't know, call the Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the company's home state to check on complaints; then, search online by entering the company name and the word "complaints" or "scam." To contact the Oregon Attorney General, call 1-877-877-9392 or visit www.oregonconsumer.gov.

4.    They don't - or can't -give you specifics. They promise a stay at a "five-star" resort or a cruise on a "luxury" ship. The more vague the promises, the less likely they'll be true. Ask for specifics, and get them in writing.

5.    You get pressure to sign up for a travel club for great deals on future vacations. The pressure to "sign up or miss out" is a sign to walk away. Travel clubs often have high membership fees and limited choice of destinations or travel dates.

6.    You get a robocall about it. Robocalls from companies are illegal if you haven't given a company written permission to call you. That's true even if you haven't signed up for the national Do Not Call Registry.

If you think you may have been targeted by a travel scam, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or to the Oregon Department of Justice at www.oregonconsumer.gov.  For more on travel scams, visit ftc.gov/travel.

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