Suspicious travel offers

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Don't fall victim to a travel scam the next time you answer your phone. They're rapidly becoming the top ranked complaint, just in time for summer. Here are the details of one involving a free cruise offer.

I actually got one of those robo-calls here at NBC12. It asked my age group, if I smoked, my zip code -- nothing real personal. So, I played along and followed the prompts. Then the automated message directed me to a website to answer a short survey.

The online survey amounts to phishing for more personal info, like a date of birth, and credit card numbers so, I did not log onto the site. But I still got two more robo-calls claiming I won a free cruise on a Caribbean cruise line, and I didn't even answer the online questions.

Remember, travel scams come in many different forms and under many different company names. Giveaways are often enticements to grab more personal information for either criminal use or, to sell it to other companies for marketing purposes.

Robo-calls that direct you to call several other numbers may also be a scheme to make international calls on your dime. Another sign of a scam, vague terms like 'a Caribbean cruise line' or 'a major hotel', and 'hurry call now', 'limited availability'.

Legitimate travel promotions provide details in writing, along with cancellation and refund rules. You should also check the company out with the state division of Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau.

It's probably fake, if it sounds too good to be true. So don't get taken. If your identity is stolen, place a fraud alert on your credit reports and file a complaint with the F.T.C. at 1-877-438-4338, or go to the Federal Trade Commission website.

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