Watch for travel deals that are too good to be true


COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A couple in central Ohio got an invitation to a travel and cruise exhibit with some great offers, but they thought they better call 4 to verify the offers aren’t a scam.

Like any other day, Steve Herb went to get the mail, but paused, noting a rather odd invitation.

“I looked at it and it just looked suspicious,” Steve Herb said.

He and his wife Chris spotted a few tantalizing freebies: two free round-trip airline vouchers and two free nights in a hotel in return for participation in the travel and cruise exhibit.

“It was more like a postcard, but then he said don’t ignore it, that was important,” said Chris Herb.

The flyer did not list the specific dates and times of the exhibition or a link to an official website with more information. Instead, he just asked them to call an 800 number within seven days.

“So immediately I usually do a reverse lookup of the number you’re supposed to call and I have a moving company and an investment company,” Chris Herb said.

The bonus offer also encouraged them to call within 48 hours to receive 50% off a car rental.

“Right now, car rentals are peaking, so offering such a discount…” said Steve Herb.

“That tells you it’s worth $ 1,100, so I thought, ‘Hmmm … too good to be true,’ Chris Herb said.

Jessica Kapcar of the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio agrees and cautions consumers to be aware of this traditional pattern.

A flyer in the mail, there might be a red flag indicating that it may not be as legitimate as you think, ”she said.

Kapcar’s office has seen a number of reports of scams involving travel deals with expensive hidden charges.

“What we have found a lot is that once they get these vouchers, they have a really hard time redeeming them,” Kapcar said.

If you receive a suspicious offer by mail, email, or text message, the BBB suggests that you:

  • Do your own research and ask questions
  • Call the official hotel or airline to verify an event or offer
  • Report suspicious activity to the BBB scam tracker

Kapcar is warning consumers to be conscientious when posting their next travel plans on social media.

“Even if you think your social networks are as private as possible, scammers are really good at finding the information they want,” she said.

The BBB said the Herbs can also contact the Ohio Attorney General’s office to file a consumer complaint about the scam and find any additional information that has been reported.

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