The travel industry has reported a sharp increase in the number of complaints regarding fraudulent Florida vacation packages. On April 8, 2016, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued a consumer alert advising Floridians and visitors of an ongoing scam offering fraudulent vacation packages. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services department warned consumers to be careful of unsolicited robocalls, emails, or faxes offering promotional vacation packages purportedly offered by legitimate travel agencies, such as Expedia, Travelocity, TripAdvisor and others.
Consumers can protect themselves against travel/ vacation scams with the following tips:
• If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
• Find out if the seller of travel is registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and if any complaints have been filed against it.
• Go directly to the legitimate travel booking company’s website, such as Expedia.com or Travelocity.com, and contact the company’s customer service department to confirm the promotion.
• Read the entire contract thoroughly, ask questions and do not sign the contract unless they are answered to your satisfaction or if you have any doubt.
• Never give out your credit card or checking account numbers over the phone or internet unless you initiated the call/contact and are certain of the company’s credentials.
Consumers who believe fraud has taken place can contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832). More consumer resources can be found by visiting The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.