7 On Your Side: Biggest travel scams and how to avoid them

NEW YORK (WABC) -- In a few weeks, roughly a third of us are going to be traveling somewhere for spring break. But before you take off, listen up: 7 On Your Side has some tips that could save you from being a victim of fraud when you should be enjoying yourself.

Last year, about 19% of travelers reported being a victim while on vacation, losing on average as much as $588 per scam.

But we have some simple tips to downgrade any deceit and keep your money safe.

"I was shocked I couldn't believe it," one victim said.

The homeowner was shocked when she saw her lakefront home up for a vacation rental on Craigslist.

"He put my bedroom up, that's when I felt violated," she said upon discovering that scammers listed her house for weekly or monthly rentals.

Before booking, watch for spelling mistakes on the lease. Work through a reputable broker and make sure you're not on a website that spoofs popular booking sites to steal your deposit.

The same goes for booking hotel rooms.

One mom thought she booked rooms directly through the hotel, but hurriedly booked her daughter's gymnastics tournament through a third party site.

She checked the "no refunds" box so she couldn't change the dates or get her money back.

Now she says she's out $1,500 with no rooms.

The takeaway is to read the terms before clicking "I accept."

And lastly, don't get "juice jacked" when charging your phone.

It happens when you plug into a fake charging station that loads your phone with malware that pilfers your passwords and addresses.

It's best to avoid a charging station altogether. Instead plug in using an AC outlet.

And watch out for hotel scams. There is the fake front desk call which is where a scammer impersonates a hotel employee. They say there is a billing problem and they need your credit card number to "re-verify" your billing info.

Also beware of fake food deliveries. That's right, ID thieves slip fake menus under your hotel room door. If you "bite," scammers get your credit card number and you go hungry.

And watch out for WiFi skimming. This is where scammers promise free internet access so they can collect your personal data when you surf online.

Simply surf your sensitive information on public WiFi and watch out -- fraud WiFi seldom has a password.

Bon voyage!

----------
SHARE YOUR STORY

Do you have an issue with a company that you haven't been able to resolve? If so, 7 On Your Side wants to help you!

Email 7OnYourSideNina@abc.com, or contact Nina on her Facebook page or tweet her at Twitter @7OnYourSideNY! You can also call the 7 On Your Side Hotline at 917-260-7697 or fill out the form below.
Copyright © 2020 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.