BBB of Acadiana alerts consumers to travel scams
For many people, summer is the time for vacations and family trips. Residents often save for months to enjoy time with family and friends away from work and home.
Whether you are heading for sunny beaches, rolling hills, majestic mountains or a foreign land, Better Business Bureau of Acadiana warns travelers to prevent identity theft while away from home.
One recent travel scam includes a phone call to your hotel room after you have settled in. The hotel clerk tells you there was a mistake when at check-in then asks you to confirm your credit card number.
But the clerk is actually a scammer who just tricked a consumer into giving up credit card information.
Other scams include tracking devises placed on or near public ATMs that steal credit card information as it is entered into the machine.
A third form of travel-related identity theft involves public Wi-Fi. Use caution when checking your bank account over the web while on the road, as hotel, restaurant or airport wireless internet networks may have poor or, even worse, no security, leaving consumers vulnerable to identity theft and the loss of all funds in their accounts.
To prevent identity theft or minimize the damage, vacationers should contact their bank beforehand and give them a "travel alert."
This lets banks know you will be using debit or credit cards away from your home area. The call also helps financial institutions to remain vigilant and detect identity theft before it becomes a major problem that could cut a vacation short or leave travelers stranded until the issues are resolved.
There are steps consumers can take while on the road to avoid problems and enjoy their time away without problems or worry. BBB suggests the following security tips:
Avoid announcing your travel plans on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
Only use ATMs located at banks.
Lock important documents such as your passport in a hotel safe if they are needed for passage home.
Only put your last name and phone number on your luggage (no first name or address).
If you are flying, tear up or shred boarding passes after using them because they have personal information.
Never leave computers and cellular phones unattended.
If possible, create a password for your cell phone.
Stop your mail and newspapers while you're gone. Piled mail left in mailboxes for days offers identity thieves easy access to personal information.
BBB works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.
The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.
Acadiana residents can now have BBB information in the palm of their hand with the official BBB Search app, a convenient, mobile BBB solution available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app can be found at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014... .