For many college students across the country, spring break has become an annual tradition. By the time second semester rolls around, as many as 1.7 million full-time undergrads begin planning trips to warm destinations. Unfortunately, cybercriminals have found a way to take advantage of this market, and not all the vacation packages marketed to students turn out to be legitimate.
Fraudulent travel sites pop up with the spring break buzz and publicize fake trips to gain access to students’ personally identifiable information or engage in financial fraud.
These spring break scams come in many forms. Some students may find themselves paying unexpected fees for things they thought were included in the package price. Others won’t receive the accommodations promised. Some may even pay for a vacation package that doesn’t exist at all.
Fortunately, there are ways that college students can protect themselves against cybercrime and keep their information safe from identity thieves when planning a spring break vacation:
- Make sure the travel company is reputable. College students should proceed with caution when reviewing travel packages that offer too-good-to-be-true deals. To check if a source is legitimate, search the BBB Accredited Business Directory to see if it’s a reliable agency or use a search engine to see if other consumers had issues with them in the past.
- Get the deal in writing. Although students should always read the fine print before they purchase a vacation package, it’s also important to remember to get all the vacation details in writing after they purchase the trip. Key details include the total cost, flight and airline information, hotel reservation, and any restrictions or exclusions that may apply.
- Pay with a credit card. Avoid companies that only allow cash or check as payment for the vacation. Using a credit card to pay for airline tickets or a hotel room provides the most protection should something go awry.
- Be wary about winning. Usually if something seems too good to be true, it is.
It should be an immediate red flag if a student “wins” a spring break trip, especially if it’s an unsolicited offer.
Students may be smart, but when it comes to spring break, what seems like a spectacular vacation deal can be difficult to pass up. LegalShield provides identity theft protection and can help college students keep their financial information safe from the full range of today’s online threats.
Enroll in LegalShield Identity Theft Protection Plan for 24/7 protection and comprehensive identity restoration of your personal and financial information.