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U.S. Government Issues Warning for Spring Break Travel Scams — What to Know

The Federal Trade Commission is warning spring breakers ahead of the hugely popular travel season.

<p>Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images</p>

Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning spring breakers about vacation scams ahead of the hugely popular travel season.

The consumer alert, issued this week, cautioned travelers against getting bamboozled by a deal that may be just too good to be true. That can include “free” vacations where there are actually exorbitant fees in place or a “low, low price” devoid of any actual details.

“When you’re planning a trip — whether it’s a last-minute spring break vacation or another trip — you might be tempted to jump on an offer for a great deal,” the FTC wrote in its alert. “Unfortunately, scammers sometimes hide behind those offers. Their goal? To try to steal your money… Not only could your dream vacation turn into a nightmare, but if you pay, it’ll be hard to get your money back.”

To avoid a travel scam, the FTC recommends travelers do their research by searching the travel company or agent along with the words “scam,” “review,” or “complaint,” as well as not sign anything until they have specific details on where they’ll be staying, cancellation policies, and more.

In addition, the FTC said travelers should beware if they are asked to pay for their getaway with a wire transfer, a gift card, or cryptocurrency.

“Dishonest travel package promoters will ask you to pay in one of these ways, but that’s a sure sign of a scam,” the commission wrote in the alert.

It’s crucial to be aware of what constitutes a scam, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t legitimately great deals to be found for spring break. From affordable destinations like Guadalajara, Mexico; Las Vegas; and Kissimmee, Florida; to saving by hitting the road, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a getaway without breaking the bank.

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