Consumer Alert: Beware of Vacation Scams
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) recently issued a warning instructing consumers to be on the lookout for vacation scams. The alert noted that this year has seen an increase in tourism within the state, and that further increases are expected in the summer months. Unfortunately, this has also led to a corresponding rise in vacation related fraud. If you have been a victim of vacation scam or any other type of fraud in Florida, please contact an experienced West Palm Beach consumer fraud attorney today to discuss your legal options.
Three Common Vacation Scams
While, consumer fraud can come in numerous different forms, the OFR noted that there are three types of vacations scams that everyone should watch out for this summer. They include:
- Fake rental ads: Many Floridians, and out-of-state visitors, enjoy spending their vacation in rental properties. There are many great properties around the state of Florida. Unfortunately, fraudsters use this fact to commit rental property fraud. Often, these fraudsters will post rental listings on websites that appear to be incredible deals. They will then ask for an upfront deposit in order to reserve the location. Unfortunately, in these scams, the advertised rental property either does not exist or the fraudster does not have the authority to rent it out.
- Sweepstakes: You may receive a notice that you won a vacation in a sweepstakes. All you need to do is wire money to pay for a processing fee. Be very wary of these type of offers, as the vast majority of them are scams.
- Social media: Finally, social media platforms have become hotbeds of vacation-related scams. These are slightly different types of scams, as many of them are fronts for identity theft. Generally, the ads will state that you can claim a free vacation by liking or sharing a post of a social media platform. Then, after telling you that you won, they will require you to enter personal identifying information to claim your prize. Generally, these ‘free’ vacations are simply bait to commit identity theft.
Tips to Avoid Fraud
The best way to avoid becoming a victim of vacation fraud is to do extensive research on any potential purchase. Unfortunately, there are many illegitimate offers currently out there, especially on the internet. The last thing you want is to become a fraud victim during your vacation time. Some specific tips you should keep in mind include:
- Avoid committing to any offers that are ‘free’ unless you are completely sure that they are from a reputable organization;
- Use official company websites over third party sites;
- Be skeptical of any unsolicited offers; and
- Remember the age old adage: if the vacation offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Were You the Victim of Consumer Fraud?
Consumers need to be protected from fraud. At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our business and consumer fraud lawyers have extensive experience helping all types of fraud victims. If you have been the victim of fraud, please do not hesitate to contact at our office today at 561-291-8298 to schedule a free case evaluation. Our firm is based in West Palm Beach and we help fraud victims throughout the area, including in Palm Beach Gardens and Wellington.