UCC Mainstream Online

Free Vacation Scam Alert

Scam artists with fake vacation schemes have been contacting Oregonians, and the Oregon Attorney General is asking anyone who has been targeted to report the scammer to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint or to the Oregon Department of Justice at www.oregonconsumer.gov.

The Attorney General is warning Oregonians that the following six signs indicate that a "free" vacation opportunity is likely a scam:

You “won a free vacation,” but you have to pay some fees first. A legitimate company won’t ask you to pay for a prize.

┬áThe prize company wants your credit card number. Even if they say it’s just for “verification,” “taxes,” or “port fees,” don’t give it to them.

They cold-call, cold-text, or email you out of the blue. Before you do business with any company you don’t know, call the Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the company’s home state to check on complaints; then, search online by entering the company name and the word “complaints” or “scam.” To contact the Oregon Attorney General, call 1-877-877-9392 or visit www.oregonconsumer.gov.

They don’t—or can’t—give you specifics. They promise a stay at a “five-star” resort or a cruise on a “luxury” ship. The more vague the promises, the less likely they’ll be true. Ask for specifics, and get them in writing.

You get pressure to sign up for a travel club for great deals on future vacations. The pressure to “sign up or miss out” is a sign to walk away. Travel clubs often have high membership fees and limited choice of destinations or travel dates.

You get a robocall about it. Robocalls from companies are illegal if you haven’t given a company written permission to call you. That’s true even if you haven’t signed up for the national Do Not Call Registry.

For more on travel scams, visit ftc.gov/travel.