If someone calls to offer you a free vacation after a long day at work, you immediately start imagining yourself relaxing in that destination. You think of the offer as the well-deserved break from long working hours. You see your kids having a good time at Disney or your family enjoying a sunny cruise.
Soon you will come back to your senses and begin to question the call. Your instincts will tell you that something is not right. All calls that you get with a free vacation offer ends in the same way. The caller will ask you to make a payment to claim the free vacation. The tricky part is that all the offers sound legitimate and enticing. You must know the signs of free vacation scam to tell the difference.
You can tell a free vacation scam by the first response you get when you pick the call. You get an automated message that instructs you to call back immediately to claim your prize. The pre-recorded message will also give you a way of opting out of the caller’s calling list by pressing a certain number on your phone.
If you decide to call back to win your vacation, the callers will use any of the following methods to get your money.
Most scammers will ask you to pay fees to get your prize. They may use different names for the upfront fees such as taxes, travel club membership fee or a reservation deposit. If you send the requested upfront fees, you will not hear from the caller again. Needless to say that you will not go for any free vacation either.
If you do not get a request to send upfront fees, the scammer will ask you to attend a live presentation. You must take part in it to get your prize. The speaker will try to get many victims to join a phony vacation club or buy a non-existence timeshare package. In reality, the package comes with hidden charges and few available dates. If you decide to claim your prize for attending the presentation instead of joining the traveling club, you will soon realize that the free vacation does not exist. Some scammers give fraudulent vouchers if you persist.
A few scammers actually offer free vacations to their victims. However, claiming the prize is more expensive than paying for the trip. You will get substandard accommodation that is cheaper than the amount you paid as upfront fees.
Before you get excited about a free vacation, understand that you can win a prize if you did not participate in a contest. Disconnect any call that comes with a free vacation. Report the scam the Attorney General in your state and the FTC.
Do not share your personal information such as your financial accounts to callers that demand for upfront fees. In the case of an automated response, do not press a number for the caller to remove you from the calling list. Pressing the number tells the caller that your number is in use. You will get so many calls from the scammers after.