Taking time off work and going on holiday is something that many of us look forward to all year round. Travel prize scams are designed to take your hard-earned cash and leave you waiting for holiday vouchers or tickets that will never arrive.
Knowing what to look out for and the tricks that travel prize scams use to make your part with your money can help you to avoid these fraudsters and keep your holiday fund safe.
What are travel prize scams?
Fraudsters running travel prize scams will try to fool you into giving them some money. They do this by saying that you have won a prize but that you will need to pay a small fee in order to get hold of it.
They may say that you have won a free holiday or even some plane tickets or a heavily discounted all-inclusive cruise. Needless to say, your ‘prize’ will not exist.
Scammers may contact you via post, email, text or even via the telephone. Social media is also another way that fraudsters may get in touch.
1. Red flag: You need to pay to ‘unlock’ your prize
Not all prizes are scams. Some people really do win holidays or plane tickets after entering a competition. However, the reality is, that these people are in the minority.
And they should never have to pay in order to claim their prize.
If someone is asking you for money in order to get your free holiday or discount vouchers, then this should act as a red flag that you may be being conned.
Fraudsters could ask you to pay via various mediums, including your credit or debit card. When they receive these details they may then use them to steal money from you.
Alternatively, they may use the information to steal your identity.
Scammers may also ask you to transfer the money from your bank account.
If you do transfer money to a travel prize scammer, you will never see your prize. Or if you do receive tickets through the most, they will probably be fake or the company named on them will not exist or know anything about your prize.
2. Red flag: You do not remember entering a competition
If you are contacted and told that you have won a competition that you do not remember entering, you may be being scammed.
Travel prize scams involve the fraudster telling you that you have won a competition. If you have no recollection of ever entering this competition, tread with caution. You may be the target of a scam.
3. Red flag: There are no contact details other than an email address
Scammers will often provide you with very limited contact details.
If you receive information about a prize with very little information about where to find the company who is giving it to you, this could be a sign that you are being scammed.
4. Do your research to avoid travel prize scams
If you are told that you have won a holiday, find out which company will be providing the holiday and get in touch with them through the contact details that you find for them on Google.
Ask the company if they know of the prize.
Is there anything written online from other people warning of a similar scam?
Equally, research the company offering the prize to you. Are they legit? Do they have any reviews?
Same goes if you have won cruise tickets or theme park tickets. A bit of legwork now can help you to avoid becoming the victim of a travel prize scam.
5. Ask someone else to look over your ‘prize’ if you are unsure
It never hurts to have a second pair of eyes to glance over your ‘prize’.
Someone else may spot something that you have missed.
6. Do not feel pressured to part with your cash
Take your time to consider the information you have received.
Does it have the hallmarks of travel prize scams that we mentioned earlier in this article? Be cautious.
7. Be alert to travel prize scams
If you are contacted by someone saying that you have won a holiday or high-value discount vouchers, be alert to the fact that you may be being scammed.
As the old adage goes, if something is too good to be true, then it probably is.