LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin is warning about the scams targeting travelers during the summer season.
As the pandemic fades in the rearview mirror, sites such as AAA predict a surge in summer travel. The recent Memorial Day weekend had over 42 million people out and about, AAA said.
In a Tuesday release from his office, Griffin outlined some of the typical scams travelers can meet. All of them are characterized by a scammer acting as a legitimate resource.
The Attorney General’s office listed the different types of scams:
- Third-party scams: Travelers should be careful about what website they use to make travel plans and reservations. The trick here is that a seemingly legitimate-looking site takes a traveler’s agenda, followed by a phone call back to the traveler to confirm financial information. The AG’s office warns that a legitimate website will never call back for financial info.
- Ticket Sale scam: Tickets sell out for popular music festivals and concerts when suddenly someone has tickets online at discounted prices. A music fan buys the tickets, only to find that they are fake when they arrive at the event.
- Gasoline scam: A scammer walks up to you with a story about needing gas money, sometimes even offering to mail you a check when they return home. “The likelihood of repayment is slim,” the AG’s office warns. They recommend purchasing gas at the pump for the person who approached you or refuse to give them money.
- Rideshare Service scam: A driver approaches and offers someone a ride. They say they work for a service like Lyft or Uber, but a passenger just canceled and they are available at a discount. Then the driver insists on payment in cash, which the AG’s office warns is a red flag. Often these drivers do not work for a legitimate rideshare company, the office said.
- Fake Front Desk scam: A call to a traveler’s hotel room, often in the middle of the night, asking for credit card information due to what they call a computer glitch is a red flag for this scam, the AG’s office warns. If this happens to a summer traveler, they should hang up immediately and call the hotel’s front desk, they said.
Being aware of scam types is not enough. Taking steps in advance to avoid being a victim can make summer travel and life easier in the long run.
Griffin also offered tips for avoiding scams:
- Travelers should put a travel alert on their debit or credit card to prevent issues or scams while out of town.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card because more protections are available, Griffin said. Also, it may be easier to dispute a credit card charge versus losing access to the cash in your bank account.
- Use social media carefully, and do not post from out of town. Pictures and narratives from a trip might invite a criminal into a vacationer’s empty house.
- Travelers should withdraw cash from an ATM at a financial institution versus a standalone ATM to prevent card information from being stolen.
For more information on safe summer travel and other consumer-related issues or to file a consumer complaint, visit ArkansasAG.gov.