When I first got the call that we had “WON A FREE TRIP OF YOUR CHOICE!,” I hate to admit it now, but I was already duped at “free.”
After sitting through a 2-hour presentation, receiving a voucher to redeem our tickets if we included a $100 refundable check, along with a number of other hoops we were to go through to receive the “free trip”, I finally got the feeling mid-way through the process that we definitely had been had.
But hey it happens to the best of us right? Yes..but it really doesn’t have to!
Here’s a few things you need to know about vacation scams, and why hanging-up will prevent you from getting caught-up:
1. It all starts with a ring…
A majority of vacation scams start with a phone call promising an unbelievable prize from a raffle or survey you may (or may not) have entered. As you rack your brain wondering what you may have unknowingly entered, you can’t help but feel that what they’re offering is too good to be true. If you’re getting that gut feeling, it probably is.
2. It’ll just be a “quick” presentation
Key word here was “quick” and they’ve convinced you to redeem your prize at their “showroom” after a presentation. Before you know it, you’re stuck in a 20-minute sales presentation, followed by a couple hours of sales pitches convincing you to invest in some sort of traveler’s membership.
3. Don’t miss out on this “one time offer!”
Try as you might to let them down easy, these sales sharks won’t take NO for an answer. But don’t give in when they tell you a timeshare, club membership, or vacation offer is a one time deal that you’ll never come by again. As persistent as they are to make a sale, they will still be as persistent with the same offer later down the road if they didn’t get you to bite the first time around.
4. Show them the money!
You’ve sat through the presentation, the sales, pitches, and now you can finally redeem your “free vacation”. Or so you thought. There’s one last thing you need to do before you earn the free plane tickets and hotel, hand over that moolah! To be eligible for your free trip, you will have to pay for travel membership, a reservation deposit, or tax and fees. Then, they’ll contact you (of course on their timeline) once they’ve received payment. What happened to “free”?!
Seems like a lot of wasted time and money with a side of headache if you ask me, and let me tell you it was and to make matters worse we didn’t get the “free trip”!
So if you find yourself on the other end of a “free vacation” offer, remember what it takes, and just hang up.
Aside from hanging-up, to best avoid being a victim of the vacation scam, if you haven’t already, sign-up to the Do Not Call Registry, report the number to the FCC, or download the Hiya caller ID app to help you block unwanted calls.