HARVEST, Ala. - Business experts in northern Alabama are telling people to watch their wallets when vacationing this summer. No matter where you travel, you'll be approached with offers and incentives. Some of those offers may not only waste your time, they could steal your money.
Daniel Knoch and his wife are frequent travelers. So, he's had his fill of long-winded timeshare presentations. "They're a little pushy. You have to say you're not interested," Knoch said.
Knoch recently attended a travel show by a group called Vacation Reservation Services. They first offered him two $300 airfare vouchers.
"You'd pay $100 to get it, $79 to use it," Knoch said.
Knoch shredded those, but said 'Yes' to a gift card. The company told him they were out of gift cards and mailed him a $35 check, so he signed it and took it to the bank.
"They said, 'It's no good. We can't cash it. But if we could, it'd be bad news'," Knoch said.
The banker wouldn't give Knoch anymore details, but his next call was to the Better Business Bureau, who say vacation scams are big money and unfortunately, retired couples are an easy mark.
"They want you to come in and offer incentives, and then talk you into purchasing a membership you had no intention of buying," Julia Cherry with the North Alabama Better Business Bureau said.
Cherry says another rising scam is fake AirBNBs. They can be harder to detect because you're booking sight unseen and you almost never meet the person renting the room.
"AirBNB has something called a 'Super Host', which means they've received X amount of 5-star reviews in a certain period of time," Cherry said.
Cherry says another good piece of advice, don't pay cash or debit if you can avoid it. If you think you're being ripped off, tell your credit card company and let them go to bat for you.
Cherry says anyone is welcome to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, even if they're not based in Alabama.
Accredited companies are required to resolve every complaint.