(WTOL) - We're now entering midsummer when everyone is vacationing, or wishing they were.
That makes this prime season for summer vacation scams, as scammers prey on people desperate to find an affordable getaway.
Looking for a last minute deal? The FTC says beware of:
- Postcards offering free airfare or free cruises: You'll pay hundreds in hidden fees. No airline is giving away free flights.
- Offers for free hotel rooms: Nope, they come with a high pressure pitch to spend thousands on a timeshare condo.
- Discount travel clubs where you can never get rooms at a good hotel when you want. Google any travel club for complaints.
- Phony beach rentals where a scammer reposts a legitimate ad from legitimate sites like VRBO or Home Away at a much lower price, then takes your money and disappears.
If those didn't get you, here are three more hotel scams that can ruin your vacation once you are on it.
- Phone calls in the middle of the night from someone claiming to be the front desk. They tell you their computers have crashed and that they need your credit card number. But it’s not the hotel calling.
- Pizza flyers under your door: While they may be legitimate, some may not be from a real pizza store. If you call, you won't get a pizza, but the scammers will get your credit card number.
- Fake WiFi hot spots. The hot spot may even have the hotel's name on it, but a scammer is running it out of a seat in the lobby or his car.
Always ask the hotel what their WiFi is called and for the password when you check in.
That way you stay safe, and don't waste your money.