COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A central Ohio couple received an invitation to a travel and cruise expo with some exciting offers, but they thought they Better Call 4 to verify the deals aren’t a scam.
Like any other day, Steve Herb went to get the mail, but paused, noting a rather strange invitation.
“I looked at it and it just seemed suspicious,” Steve Herb said.
He and his wife Chris spotted a few enticing giveaways: two free round-trip airline vouchers and two free nights at a hotel in exchange for attending the travel and cruise expo.
“It was more of a postcard kind of a mailer, but then it said not to ignore it, it was important,” Chris Herb said.
The flyer did not list specific dates and times of the expo or an official website link with more information. Instead, it simply 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 got a moving company and an investment company,” Chris Herb said.
The bonus offer also encouraged them to call within 48 hours to receive 50 percent off a car rental.
“At this moment in time, car rentals are sky-high, so to be offering such a discount…” Steve Herb said.
“It’s telling you that it’s a $1,100 value, so I thought, ‘Hmmm.. too good to be true,’” Chris Herb said.
Jessica Kapcar with the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio agrees and warns consumers to be alert of this traditional scheme.
A flyer in the mail, that right there might be a red flag that it might 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 fees.
“What we’ve found a lot of is once they get those vouchers, they have a very hard time redeeming them,” Kapcar said.
If you receive a suspicious offer via mail, email, or text, the BBB suggests you:
- Do your own research and ask questions
- Call the official hotel or airline to verify an event or deal
- Report suspicious activity to the BBB’s scam tracker
Kapcar warns consumers to be conscientious about posting upcoming travel plans on social media.
“Even though you think your social media is as private as you can make it, scammers are really good about finding information that they want,” she said.
The BBB said the Herbs can also contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to file a consumer complaint about this scam and find any additional information that has been reported.