SAN ANTONIO - It's finally time to take that dream vacation with the money you've worked so hard to earn all year, but, to the misfortune of many victims, there are scammers out there just waiting to prey on the innocent and take off with what they can.
Here are some steps to keep you protected from travel nightmares:
First, do your research and read any travel offers you find online carefully. The Federal Trade Commission said you should get recommendations from family and friends on legitimate travel agencies, vacation rentals or travel packages.
You should also look up travel companies on search engines, with the words "scam," "review" or "complaint."
Remember to look for extra costs, such as amenity fees or resort fees.
If you have to sign anything, make sure you know the terms and conditions of the deal. The FTC recommends declining offers from anyone who tries to rush you to sign something without giving you time to do your research.
The FTC said consumers should also be cautious of prize vacations. No legitimate company will ever ask you to pay for a prize you have won.
And, the FTC says, you should look for catches when attending timeshare presentations, which usually include high-pressure sales pitches.
You should also consider using a credit card for your travel spending. These cards give you more protection than cash or a debit card. It also may be easier to dispute unauthorized purchases with a credit card.
Finally, remember to protect your identity while traveling. The FTC recommends only taking IDs, credit cards and debit cards you will need on your trip. You should also make copies of what you're taking with you in case they are stolen and you need to replace them.
To read more tips from the FTC, click here.
“Money: It’s Personal” is a series on KSAT’s News at 9 that breaks down personal finance topics. If you have a suggestion or question on the types of topics you'd like us to explain, click here.
For more stories from KSAT's News at 9, visit KSAT.com/newsat9.
Copyright 2019 by KSAT - All rights reserved.