Here's the Best Rule of Thumb: If it sounds too good to be true ... it ain't true.

  1. Somebody offers to get you qualified as a travel agent. You send money and they send you some training manuals and a travel agent ID. Sadly, the ID is useless and it gets you nothing.
  2. Ah, but you can make your money back by getting others involved in the same "deal." The problem here is that this is a multi-level marketing scam and it's illegal. Jail does NOT make for a nice vacation
  3. Bargain vacation certificates are NOT a bargain. The more clever the wording in the offer, the worse the deal may turn out to be. There are always hidden expenses, however you don't learn about them until it's way too late. Trust us ... no company can afford to fly you and your entire family to the French Riviera and keep you there for a week for $99. It just doesn't work like that.
  4. FREE vacation certificates are even less of a bargain. You may find yourself in a far off place sharing space with thousands of cockroaches. Oh, you want a CLEAN room? Hmmmm. $350 a night. You want a sandwich without bugs in it? Ah, that'll be $12 and an extra $3.50 for a dab of mustard. You want water that you can see through? $10 a bottle.
  5. You ain't tasted pressure until a hungry time-share salesman gets you in a small room for an hour of gentle persuasion. The two night vacation becomes a 48 hour nightmare. Trust us and just pay for a hotel room. It'll keep your blood pressure down and your checkbook intact.
  6. You're a WINNER. Oh no you're not, and if you fall for this pitch we can guarantee that you'll come out a loser. Winners are always required to pay something ... for instance the taxes on the package. Kiss your money and your vacation goodbye.
  7. County Fairs or Shopping Malls often offer a prize drawing. Just give 'em your name and address and phone number and you might win. Guess what? You WILL win. You'll win the right to have your name and contact number sold to twelve zillion different telemarketing firms. If you don't believe us and want to fill out one of those forms, add a Q. as your middle initial and then watch what hits your mail box..

Here's what AARP says you can do to protect yourself against travel fraud:

  • Use common sense.
  • Be wary of “great” deals.
  • Resist high-pressured sales pitches.
  • Ask detailed questions about promotions.
  • Get all the details, total cost and any refund policy in writing before you pay.
  • Never give your credit card number over the phone unless you know the person or company you are dealing with.
  • Never be rushed into sending money by overnight express.
  • Buy travel services only from a business you know.
  • If in doubt, say “no.”