Spring Break is near, which means a lot of travel expenses you won’t regret unless it puts you into debt.
Here at The Credit Repairmen, we’re always thinking about finances in terms of three digits. Do you have the three digit score that lets lenders know you will be trustworthy? The three digit score that lets lenders know could be trustworthy? Or the three digit score that lets lenders know you won’t be trustworthy?
Like anything else, there are times when your lenders can’t trust you because you too readily trusted someone else. Like Shelly Stamis; she saw an ad for a Florida vacation home on beachfront property that cost $200 a night. So she wired $1,500 to a bank account in Florida to take her kids spring breaking. It sounded too good to be true—because it was.
As the article points out, the American Hotel and Lodging Association reports that 15 million scam reservations were made in 2015.
Scams are not limited to a fake bed and breakfast on the beach. The same thing happens to cruise liquidation sales. A woman took a flier on a cruise deal for her family that included round-trip airfare. It was an unsolicited fax, which should have been the ultimate red flag according to a member of the Better Business Bureau.
She ended up paying $1,200 to buy into a vacation club.
Run From the Border
Border agents charging you for entry fees into the spot you’re hoping to get away from is another (particularly scary) scam. Sometimes travelers are asked to purchase a special visa in order to cross over, or may be asked to show their passport.
So how do you protect yourself from spring break scams?
When thinking about the border agent scam, the best defense is knowing what to look for. Legitimate border agents will not be milling about, asking random people on the street for their passports. Book your destinations through a reliable travel agent or site. Whatever details are critical about your trip—document it. If you’ve won some fancy cruise, or hotel suite, don’t give up your bank digits.
Most important for our purposes, pay with your credit card. It’s easy to get get lost in thinking your debit card and your credit card are the exact same thing. They’re not. A debit card transaction happens instantaneously—meaning once the money is missing from your account, it’s missing. You can always dispute the charges after the fact, and not lose a dime, but that won’t change the hit your credit score takes if the lost money results in a late payment. As we’ve documented before, this is especially critical if your bank engages in the shady practice of reordering your credit items.
For more on how to avoid spring break scams in general by knowing the credit game, call us at 210-520-0444 or visit us at our battle-tested offices at 6989 Alamo Downs Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78238.