Beware of “free” trips and other security advice for summer travel

Staff Report

INDIANAPOLIS­ ­— Summer is finally here, which means flights are being booked and destinations are being decided on for family trips.

In order to plan a safe and stress-free vacation, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s Office released tips to make sure fraud and criminal activity do not make the trip with you.

When booking your trip

When booking your trip, make sure to be on your guard if you are contacted about winning a “free” vacation. A legitimate company won’t ask you to pay fees for a prize.

While booking a trip with a third party agency can be a good idea, always make sure to research the company to make sure it is reputable. Also, ask agencies for recent references and read customer reviews online. Companies like and offer reviews of travel agencies, and they are free to join.

When it comes time to make a deposit, remember to pay with a credit card, and avoid cash or checks. Credit cards offer the best protection in case you need to dispute a charge. Also, make sure to review all contracts carefully and go through all arrangements yourself. Ask the company for names, addresses, and phone numbers of the airlines, car rental companies, and hotels you’ll be using. Then you can call and verify the information.

Before you depart

When the time comes to leave, make sure to place travel alerts on your credit cards, particularly if you are traveling abroad. This can be done by calling your bank and letting them know your destination.

Also, give the airline and hotels a call ahead of time to confirm your reservation one last time.

Try to avoid posting about your upcoming trip on social media. However, if you really want to post, do not include when you are leaving, or how long you will be gone in your post. By posting details on social media about leaving town, you’ve just allowed a burglar to schedule the best time to break into your home.

During your trip

During your trip, make sure to keep a close eye on your tickets, hotel room key and documents or items that may contain personal information. Also, refrain from posting pictures of your airline boarding documents, which hold important personal information that can be decoded.

Check up on your bank statements periodically, especially after making a final payment for an activity. If anything unusual pops up, alert your bank to the situation, and shut down the card if needed.

Finally, enjoy yourself, and when you return home, shred any unneeded items containing personal information.

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