Planning a last minute vacation? AARP warns of this scam

Published 7:16 am Friday, August 5, 2022

FARMVILLE — As families schedule their last minute trips before school is back in session, AARP warns of a new scam to watch for.

According to the American Association of Retired People (AARP), these criminal scammers have created fake travel sites that look convincingly legitimate. When patrons search on the internet to book their trip, these fake websites pop up in the search results. The fake listings are usually copies of legitimate ones, which makes it hard for customers to realize the website’s fake until it’s too late. Even though it looks real, the price is usually much lower than usual making the listing too good to pass up.

“School supplies have hit the store shelves, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late for one last summer trip,” said Ginger Thompson, communications director at AARP in a press release. “But beware, because the pool of last-minute travel deals is filled with sharks.”

In order to stay safe while booking, AARP gives three helpful tips to keep in mind and plan a safe vacation.

Watch out for websites, AARP says

The first tip is to be mindful of the website. According to AARP, these scammers copy real listings from real sites making it hard to tell if it’s fake. AARP suggests using trusted booking sites or double checking the legitimacy of the site before giving any payment information. A good way to check is to see if there are any odd spellings or grammatical errors in the website or web address.

The second tip is to be skeptical of the uncommonly low prices. If a price is too good to be true, then it most likely is. Any suspicious pricing should cause folks to refer back to the first tip and make sure the website is legitimate.

AARP’s last tip is to not trust any vacation sellers that require payment outside of the travel platform or app.

According to AARP, these scams can be lookalike websites to harvest personal data, get credit card information, give links to download malware or give a duplicate booking to collect payments for nonexistent bookings.

To learn more about how to look out for scams or to receive help after being a victim of one, visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.