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Kansans warned not to get scammed by summer travel plans

(WAVE 3 News)
Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 1:57 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is reminding Kansans to travel safely this summer and avoid scams.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt says with COVID-19 restrictions lifting, Kansans are beginning to venture further away from home as the summer vacation season gets underway. Unfortunately, he said that means scammers will also be looking to make a quick buck by taking advantage of travel plans.

According to AG Schmidt, a lot has changed since the last time Kansanswere able to freely travel for vacations. He said he wants to remind Kansans to use common sense when making travel arrangements to ensure summer plans do not go off track.

Schmidt said scammers often target vacationers with texts, emails and phone calls that offer prices that are too good to be true for what sounds like a dream vacation. Or, he said they offer a “free” vacation if you join a travel club or attend a promotional seminar for a timeshare. As with all offers that sound too good to be true, he said it is important to read the fine print and in many cases, travelers arrive at their destination to find accommodations are not quite what was promised. He said vacationers could also be hit with hidden fees or extra charges like bed fees, meal fees or even fees for sheets and towels.

According to Schmidt, offers that sound too good to be true almost always are. Instead of being pressured by sales representatives or promised deals and discounts, he said it is better for Kansans to intimate the transaction. He said vacationers should do careful research, as many online travel sites offer ways to compare prices and travel options. He said travelers can also work with a local and trusted travel agent.

Schmidt said an additional consideration during 2021 is the availability of ground transportation to destinations. He said many rental companies are seeing limited vehicle stocks as they come out of COVID-19 restrictions. He said travelers should do their homework as they plan their trips to make sure that the vehicle they want is available and to be aware of charges that could be made.

Before purchasing a vacation package, AG Schmidt said to study the agreement carefully. He said to make sure all charges and fees are clearly understood and to be sure to check refund policies on airfare and hotel rooms in case a cancellation needs to be made.

According to Schmidt, travelers should also consider using a credit card to pay for the purchase. In many cases, he said credit card companies offer fraud protection and the cardholder can maintain the ability to dispute any charges they did not agree to. He said many card companies also include travel and rental car insurance in agreements.

Schmidt said to only take IDs, credit cards and debit cards that will be needed on the vacation. He said to make copies of these items and leave them in a secure location, like a safe deposit box, in case someone steals your bag while you travel, that way authorities can quickly recover exactly what was lost. Also, he said to make a copy of health insurance cards to take with you, but leave all other important documents safe at home.

If you think you have been a victim of a scam, call the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-432-2310 or go online.

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