Lesson 101 On How To Avoid Travel Scams, As Shared By A Travel Agent
The summer holiday is here and of course, while you may be busy planning that wonderful trip, someone somewhere is planning a rip-off scheme. It is the reality of a world we live in.
So, a travel agent and CEO of TVPTravels, Funmi Oyatogun shared a story of how she almost got scammed while planning a trip to Osogbo.
The story reveals the latest scam method in town and you can learn from the great tips she shared, on how to protect yourself from falling victim.
Funmi wanted to book a hotel in Osogbo which she had stayed in before. The hotel she knew was Ideal Nest Hotel, Osogbo (real, legitimate hotel that she had stayed in before).
She searched the internet for their number and a phone number came up. She called the number to make inquiries.
The person who picked up the call introduced himself as Omobaba.
“He gave me the room types and their costs. When I asked him why the prices were significantly different from those on Jumia Travel, he said they don't work with "anything like Jumia,'' Funmi narrated.
This was a red flag, and she explains.
“It was a red flag because my booking last year at this hotel was made on Jumia. Then, I asked to speak to someone whose name I remembered from my last stay and he insisted that there's no such person. I didn't think too much of this since people change jobs all the time.
“So, I asked him to send me the hotel's account number and he sent me a personal account number from a different line. I called him back insisting on an official number. After he refused, I decided to search for another number,” she explained.
And there it was, the hotel had a website and the numbers on their site were different from the one that came up on her initial Google search. She then called one of the numbers and the hotel team confirmed their real prices, real room types and sent her an official account.
They also confirmed that some people had fallen victim to this scam.
So, here are some tips to help you avoid paying a scammer while planning your travels, as shared by Funmi.
1. Check that the number(s) of Google Search MATCHES the number(s) on the hotel or company’s website.
2. Do not pay into a personal account of someone who claims to work in a company
3. Even if you have paid an individual in the past, always ask to pay into a corporate account because your contact person could have left the company or have been fired from the company.
4. Some people are just starting out and run legitimate businesses or sell their legitimate market, using their personal account details. But always check reviews and ensure that others have a positive story.
5. If you are unsure about a number, send a message to the company's Social Media pages and ask them to confirm the numbers or the identity of the person you've been speaking with. Or send an email.
This story was shared by Funmi on Twitter.
See tweet below:
I just avoided a scam! Anyone could fall for this, so please be careful and pay attention / carry out due diligence before you make payment to any hotel, tour company, agent or other travel vendor. I think this will help someone!— Funmi Oyatogun (@funmioyatogun) August 23, 2018
How to avoid travel scams, 101.
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